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Hi

Does it always depend on me whether I use may or might in a sentence?

I think I might go to Sweden next week or I think I may go to Sweden next week

Are both OK?

thanks
Comments  
Hello,

It doesn't have a very different meaning in this sentence. Most of the time they are interchangable but you cannot use "might" for permission. You can say "okay, you may leave now" but not "okay, you might leave now". As for the meaning of possibility, they are interchangable.
I think I might go to Sweden next week.

I think I may go to Sweden next week.

To me, using 'might' suggests that you are less certain of going to Sweden. 'May' implies that you are more likely to go to Sweden.
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Hi,
I think the only difference is that "may" is less common in everyday conversations, in informal contexts. It belongs to a (slightly?) higher register.
The fact that "may" implies that something is more probable is a well-known urban legend in the ESL field, which Michael Swan helped to spread. Maybe he was even the one who started it...
If you go ask some native speakers, "What's the difference between these two?"...
- The bridge might soon fall to pieces
- The bridge may soon fall to pieces
...I don't know how many people will tell you there's a difference in terms of probability. Maybe no one. Maybe most of them will just say "No idea. Is there a difference?"
Emotion: smile
Hi guys!

Thanks for the replies. I also think that there is hardly any difference between these two words. Emotion: wink
Both may and might can be used when referring to present or future possibilities. May suggests a serious possibility and might a remote possibility.

(The Right Word at the Right Time)
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Hi Newguest

I have the following to share with you.

may / might

Similarly, we can use the modal auxiliaries may or might to say that there is a chance that something is true or may happen. May and might are used to talk about present or future events. They can normally be used interchangeably, although might may suggest a smaller chance of something happening. Compare the following:

  • I may go into town tomorrow for the Christmas sales. And James might come with me!
  • What are you doing over the New Year, Ann? ~ Oh, I may go to Scotland, but there again, I might stay at home.
  • If you go to bed early tonight, you may / might feel better tomorrow.
  • If you went to bed early tonight, you might feel better tomorrow.
  • One of my New Year resolutions is to go to the gym twice a week! ~ And pigs might fly!


  • Note that 'Pigs might fly' is a fixed expression and always uses might. It means that something will never happen.

    In the first conditional example, will perhaps could be substituted.

    • If you go to bed early tonight, you may / might feel better tomorrow.
    In the second conditional example, where might is an alternative for would perhaps, may cannot be substituted.

    • If you went to bed early tonight, you might feel better tomorrow.