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what is difference between these two sentences
He might come. or he may come .
thanks
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Comments  (Page 5) 
<"Might", on the other hand, seems quite common in the spoken language, in my experience (London area). Unless we're looking at different figures, the BNC seems to confirm that.>

Your pairings are wrong. They should be:

may compared with can

may compared with might

.........
Milky
MrPedanticAs I said before: if the distinction is there, why does no one ever ask for clarification?

MrP

If the distinction is not there for you, you'll never need ask.

I meant the distinction in terms of certainty. And even if it isn't "there for me", it's presumably there for other people, if what you say is true.

When was the last time someone asked you to confirm that you meant "might" and not "may", for instance?

MrP
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Milky
Note the distance in time between each moment of speaking and the event described. Can we generally feel more sure about events that are close to us than ones that are further away in time? If so, do we have language at our diposal that will allow us to express those levels of certainty/uncertainty?

I don't quite follow. Sorry. Can you paraphrase?


Note also the more general ease of getting a car repaired than that of getting time off work. In each of your sentences, the thing that could prevent the speaker carrying out the enjoyable action is of a different intensity - in normal situations that is.

Are you sure about that? My first speaker (car) seems very doubtful that they'll be able to attend. In fact, I'm inclined to think the whole thing is a pretext.

My second speaker (France), on the other hand, seems fairly confident.

MrP
Milky
<"Might", on the other hand, seems quite common in the spoken language, in my experience (London area). Unless we're looking at different figures, the BNC seems to confirm that.>

Your pairings are wrong. They should be:

may compared with can

may compared with might

Yes, I'm comparing "may" with "might":
Milky
The BNC (see link) gives this result for "may" and "might" in News registers:

...

And in Spoken registers:

may - 5471

might - 8380

Interesting, innit?

May = 5471, Might = 8380.

Which figures are you looking at?

MrP
<And even if it isn't "there for me", it's presumably there for other people, if what you say is true>

So, what's your next step? If you doubt, then go out and ask folks in London. Let me know what you come up with.
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-----------
Might is mostly used as a less definite or more hesitant form of may, suggesting a smaller chance – it is used when people think something is possible but not very likely. Compare:

I may go to London tomorrow. (perhaps a 50% chance)
Joe might come with me. (perhaps a 30% chance)

Practical English Usage, by Michael Swan
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<“Might is mostly used as a less definite or more hesitant form of may, suggesting a smaller chance – it is used when people think something is possible but not very likely.>

Not according to Mr P. So, ask him for guidance on use.
Milky
But yes, I believe that spoken language allows more uncertainty than do the Academic or News registers. With might vs may, there are added factors. Might also signals higher formality for many. It is also considered as somewhat dated by some, and, for many also, it sounds stuffy. So, that could be a major reason why one hears less of it in the spoken language.

Your conclusion is at odds with your own figures:
Milky
The BNC (see link) gives this result for "may" and "might" in News registers:

...

And in Spoken registers:

may - 5471

might - 8380

Interesting, innit?

May = 5471, Might = 8380.

MrP
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
<

May = 5471, Might = 8380.

MrP>

Ah, Mr P, when will you learn to read post thoroughly?

<<So, that could be a major reason why one hears less of it in the spoken language.>>

<With might vs may, there are added factors.>

Higher formality exist in the "permission" use:

MIGHT I 38

MAY I 254
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