Modal Verbs: Might vs. May

The modal verbs are auxiliary verbs used to express ability, possibility, permission, or obligation. 


Might + infinitive

I/we/you/they/he/she/it + might (not) + infinite verb (e.g.:  She might go to London).

I might = it´s possible that I will.

He might go to the movies tonight, but he´s not sure (it is possible that he will go).

I might play golf tomorrow (it is possible)

Las Vegas

I might not = It´s possible that I will not.

Paul might not come to the meeting (it is possible that he will not come).

Anne might not go to Las Vegas tomorrow.


You can use may in the same way.

I may = I might

– I may go to New York City next weekend (I might go).

– Steve may not go to work tomorrow (it is possible that he will not go).

At work

You can use may to express a desire

May the force be with you!

May the New Year bring you love.  


Using may to ask for permission

May I go to the restroom?

May I have your attention, please?

May I go out?

May I open the window?

Using may to give permission

You may have a glass of wine if you like.

You may go to the restroom if you want.

Please, spread the word!

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