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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 6) 
First you said:
Milky
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 /

To which CJ replied:

<...Now how can you establish that people always speak of less probable things than they write about?...>

To which you replied:
MilkyNot the same discussion. There are less transcriptions of spoken English than there are of written in the BNC.

The intention was not that you compare written with spoken, but written uses of "may" and "might" in each individual register.

--------------------

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.

"With might vs may there are added factors...one hears less of [might] in the spoken language."

Now as we've seen, the BNC figures for Spoken Registers show that one hears more of "might" (8380) in the spoken language than of "may" (5471).

MrP
Deleted. Bad format.
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<Now as we've seen, the BNC figures for Spoken Registers show that one hears more of "might" (8380) in the spoken language than of "may" (5471).>

I was referring to may/might for permsion.

I'll break the figures down tomorrow and try to see what comes up.

Until then:



1 IT MAY 10995

2 YOU MAY 6226

3 THEY MAY 4956

4 WE MAY 2942

5 HE MAY 2392

6 I MAY 1517

7 WHO MAY 1164

8 SHE MAY 800

9 ONE MAY 526

10 THEM MAY 145

11 ITSELF MAY 101

12 THEMSELVES MAY 73

13 SOMEONE MAY 59

14 US MAY 31

15 WHOM MAY 28

16 SOMETHING MAY 28

17 HIMSELF MAY 24

18 SOMEBODY MAY 15

19 HE/SHE MAY 14

20 ME MAY 13

21 ANYONE MAY 13

22 HIM MAY 12

23 YE MAY 10

24 HERSELF MAY 10

25 NOTHING MAY 10



1 IT MIGHT 6345

2 YOU MIGHT 4481

3 HE MIGHT 3364

4 I MIGHT 2958

5 THEY MIGHT 2941

6 WE MIGHT 2449

7 SHE MIGHT 1977

8 ONE MIGHT 1247

9 WHO MIGHT 1017

10 THEM MIGHT 116

11 SOMEONE MIGHT 94

12 SOMETHING MIGHT 63

13 ITSELF MIGHT 43

14 SOMEBODY MIGHT 42

15 HIMSELF MIGHT 35

16 ANYTHING MIGHT 34

17 ANYONE MIGHT 32

18 US MIGHT 26

19 THEMSELVES MIGHT 23

20 HIM MIGHT 17

21 HERSELF MIGHT 12

22 WHOM MIGHT 10

23 HER MIGHT 10

24 EVERYTHING MIGHT 9

25 YE MIGHT 9

I was referring to may/might for permsion.
You were referring to these comments by CJ:
I was only talking about the "maybe" meaning of may/might.
It's possible that it's "just me", but no, no distinction regarding likelihood.
Indeed, you quote the second one in the post in which your BNC figures appear:
Milky<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

Then you give the figures for "might" vs "may" in various registers:


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 /

Then you add this comment:


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.

Which clearly relates to "likelihood", not "permission".

So either you or the BNC figures are wrong.

Which is it?

MrP
Mr P. You expect me to keep going back on posts past 1:15am? Post that you have only half-read and then partially quoted. Why don't you move forward? Pose a simple question. What is it you want to know?
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<Which clearly relates to "likelihood", not "permission".>

How do you figure that from this?

<<Might also signals higher formality for many.>>

--------------

From the BNC:

Formality:

May I = 1190 per 1million words across all registers

Might I = 190 per 1million words across all registers

May I = 254 per 1million words in the spoken register (24.58)

Might I = 150 per 1million words in the spoken register (1.05)

-------------------

Note also that I gave reasons why "may". when meaning "maybe/possibly", appears more in Academic and News registers than does "might". The reasons were to do with certainty and not formality.

<<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. >>
There are less transcriptions of spoken English than there are of written in the BNC.

fewer

CJ
CalifJim
There are less transcriptions of spoken English than there are of written in the BNC.
fewer

CJ
Thanks.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Here's one clear distinction:
"I may/might come" - indifferent
He said he might come - when reporting in the past, may is not possible.
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