+0
what is difference between these two sentences
He might come. or he may come .
thanks
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Comments  (Page 2) 
Jim, in AmEng, would there be no distinction, regarding likelihood, between these two?

The Commission kept under review the human rights situation in Afghanistan, Romania, El Salvador and Iran but sent a clear signal that it may terminate special scrutiny of the latter two countries at its next session.

The Commission kept under review the human rights situation in Afghanistan, Romania, El Salvador and Iran but sent a clear signal that it might terminate special scrutiny of the latter two countries at its next session.

-----------

In several ways, then, a catalogue may be in advance of any other publications. The corollary is that some catalogue information has only a limited life, since it may in its turn be overtaken by new research. In the introduction or other essays there may be some writing which will not date, such as art criticism which documents the personal experience of the writer.

In several ways, then, a catalogue might be in advance of any other publications. The corollary is that some catalogue information has only a limited life, since it might in its turn be overtaken by new research. In the introduction or other essays there might be some writing which will not date, such as art criticism which documents the personal experience of the writer.
Shafqat what is difference between these two sentences
He might come. or he may come .
thanks
If you're presented with these sentences in an exam, it's probably best to say what most textbooks seem to say, i.e. that "might" indicates less likelihood than "may".

If you hear "may" or "might" from a native speaker, on the other hand, there is no guarantee that the speaker intends to indicate more likelihood by using "may", or less likelihood by using "might".

Modal verbs express the speaker's attitude towards the content of an utterance (e.g. its believability, obligatoriness, desirability, or reality). Isolated sentences can therefore be very misleading, in a discussion of modality: the meaning of the modal element in the sentence can change according to the context.

For instance (examples from Google):

1. When the Lord comes to bring his people back, there will be a settling of accounts. [But] we don't know when he's going to come. He may come tomorrow. He may come before the end of this sentence. He may come fifty years from now, a hundred years from now.

— here, "may" is used to enumerate equal possibilities. The Lord's visit itself is certain; only the "when" is uncertain.

2. The heating company came this morning to hook up the gas line to the water heater and into the kitchen. And the electrician finally called me back. He may come tomorrow morning. He said that he was free at 9 am, unless the one thing he has to do tomorrow that he couldn't remember turns out to be in the morning.

— here, "may" is used to convey the uncertainty of the visit itself. "[He] may come tomorrow morning" may report the electrician's words exactly; but it's more likely to be a paraphrase of some kind (e.g. "I'll see if I can come tomorrow", or "I'll try to come round tomorrow", or "I may be able to come tomorrow").

MrP
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Jim, in AmEng, would there be no distinction, regarding likelihood, between these two?
It's possible that it's "just me", but no, no distinction regarding likelihood.
On the other hand, let me make this observation.
Since these examples are clearly written language, the use of might seems out of place to me. Journalistic phrases like "terminate special scrutiny" and "corollary ... in its turn ... art criticism" are not typical everyday conversational utterances. They just don't go with might as well as they go with may. If I were writing these statements I would use only may, regardless of the degree of likehood. (I might* also use may in an academic report before a class, which is actually formal speech, not writing. That's why I feel the difference (in AmE) has more to do with register than precisely with written vs. spoken.)

Go figure.

CJ

*By the way, would you use may there? "I may also use may in an academic ..."
To me it sounds completely wrong, and not just because of the repetition of may.
I would never use may there, no matter how much more likely I thought my usage of may in that context.
Just American ears? Emotion: smile
Or are we dealing with a might that is shading into could or would be capable of and thus not the specific shade of might we're discussing here?
<If you hear "may" or "might" from a native speaker, on the other hand, there is no guarantee that the speaker intends to indicate more likelihood by using "may", or less likelihood by using "might". >

What a sad state of affairs. Hardly anyone knows how to use modals anymore.

<1. When the Lord comes to bring his people back, there will be a settling of accounts. [But] we don't know when he's going to come. He may come tomorrow. He may come before the end of this sentence. He may come fifty years from now, a hundred years from now.

— here, "may" is used to enumerate equal possibilities. The Lord's visit itself is certain; only the "when" is uncertain. >

And how would this be different?

1. When the Lord comes to bring his people back, there will be a settling of accounts. [But] we don't know when he's going to come. He may come tomorrow. He might come before the end of this sentence. He may come fifty years from now, a hundred years from now.

<2. The heating company came this morning to hook up the gas line to the water heater and into the kitchen. And the electrician finally called me back. He may come tomorrow morning. He said that he was free at 9 am, unless the one thing he has to do tomorrow that he couldn't remember turns out to be in the morning.

<— here, "may" is used to convey the uncertainty of the visit itself. "[He] may come tomorrow morning" may report the electrician's words exactly; but it's more likely to be a paraphrase of some kind (e.g. "I'll see if I can come tomorrow", or "I'll try to come round tomorrow", or "I may be able to come tomorrow").>

I agree that the speaker could be reporting the electricians statement, but it could also be her own doubt or certainty that she is expressing:

"The heating company came this morning to hook up the gas line to the water heater and into the kitchen. And the electrician finally called me back. He may come tomorrow morning...you know what they're like those guys. He said that he was free at 9 am, unless the one thing he has to do tomorrow that he couldn't remember turns out to be in the morning."

And, how would this be different?

"The heating company came this morning to hook up the gas line to the water heater and into the kitchen. And the electrician finally called me back. He might come tomorrow morning. He said that he was free at 9 am, unless the one thing he has to do tomorrow that he couldn't remember turns out to be in the morning."
<It's possible that it's "just me", but no, no distinction regarding likelihood.
On the other hand, let me make this observation.
Since these examples are clearly written language, the use of might seems out of place to me. Journalistic phrases like "terminate special scrutiny" and "corollary ... in its turn ... art criticism" are not typical everyday conversational utterances. They just don't go with might as well as they go with may. If I were writing these statements I would use only may, regardless of the degree of likehood. (I might* also use may in an academic report before a class, which is actually formal speech, not writing. That's why I feel the difference (in AmE) has more to do with register than precisely with written vs. spoken.)

Go figure.>

No need. News reporting is the same as academic writing regarding the use of modality, it tends to be of the more "present form" use. Academic and News registers mostly reject namby-pamby statements.

Emotion: big smile

The BNC (see link) gives this result for "may" and "might" in News registers:

may - 8879 appearances per million words

might - 3984 per mill.

..............

For Academic registers:

might - 11439 per mill.

may - 36600 per mill

-------

And in Spoken registers:

may - 5471

might - 8380

Interesting, innit?

http://view.byu.edu /
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Milky<If you hear "may" or "might" from a native speaker, on the other hand, there is no guarantee that the speaker intends to indicate more likelihood by using "may", or less likelihood by using "might". >

What a sad state of affairs. Hardly anyone knows how to use modals anymore.
Not necessarily. It may simply be that the use of "may" and "might" by native speakers is more complicated than some ESL webpages (and grammars, seemingly) would suggest.

Take these two dialogues:

Ex. 1
"How likely is it that X will happen?"
"Fairly likely, I should say."
"Only fairly likely? Not very likely?
"No, just fairly likely."

Ex. 2
"Do you think MrQ will come tomorrow?"
"Well, he might come, I suppose."
"Only might? Not may?"
"No, just might."

Conversation #1 reflects a common kind of clarification. Conversation #2 (in my experience) doesn't.

If it were true that "might" indicated a lesser likelihood than "may", we would often have to ask for clarification, in the manner of conversation #2. But I don't think that's the case. When we do have to clarify, or correct an assessment of likelihood, the distinction is usually between "may/might" and some other form, e.g. "will", or a simple indicative:

Ex. 3
"What do you mean, he may come? He will come!"

MrP
May is more posibility than might.
MilkyI agree that the speaker could be reporting the electricians statement, but it could also be her own doubt or certainty that she is expressing:
Yes indeed.

If the speaker were sitting opposite us, her tone of voice, emphasis, etc. might eliminate some of the possibilities.
MilkyAnd how would this be different?
Again, I find it very difficult to say. In my own usage, the choice between "may" and "might" often depends on concord of tenses, etc. Both "may" and "might" often turn up in reported (or pseudo-reported) speech and conditional statements, for instance, where idiom often tends to one or the other.

MrP
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
---
may; might

These words occupy different places on a continuum of probability.

May expresses likelihood
<we may go to the party>
while
might expresses a stronger sense of doubt
<we might be able to go if your appointment is cancelled]
or a contrary-to-fact hypothetical
<we might have been able to go if George hadn't gotten held up>.

Some sentences present close calls -- e.g.
"If one of his coaches did something wrong, he says, he may [or might]
be able to forgive."
If that statement comes on the heels of alleged wrongdoing by the coach, then may is the better word. But if it's a pure hypothetical condition, might would be preferable.

Brian Garner, Modern American Usage, p. 513
----------
Show more