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Glad to be of help.

Another post that might be of interest to you and your students is Modals. There I give a basic outline of the meanings and uses of many of the modals, categorized by function.

CJ
I am actually researching this for a paper and ran across your question. In general, it helps to understand where words come from. Could is the subjunctive form of can, and therefore carries a connotation of "is able to". Compare that with may -- "has permission to".

Might is the subjunctive form of may, which leads to a great deal of confusion.

In general usage, I would say that "might" denotes a slight possibility, where "could" sounds more like a strong possibility. Using "may" in this situation is technically incorrect, although it is in common usage, and common usage is the rule for American English. (In my opinion, the use of "may" was popularized by people attempting to sound "high class", but not knowing proper English.)

Whenever dealing with the subjunctive tense things get tricky because it isn't taught in America. I will sometimes use the "If I were a rich man I ..." construction to see what sounds the best. "If I were a rich man I might buy a house". NOT "If I were a rich man I may buy a house".
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AnonymousShe may be in her room.
She might be in her room.
She could be in her room.
They all mean the same thing:

It is possible that she is in her room.
= Maybe she's in her room.

Don't drive yourself crazy by making this a problem in mathmatical probability theory.

If you want a simple but arbitrary rule to use when trying to choose among them in your own conversation, say might and forget the other two.

CJ
Hey

I was just looking for a better explanation about might, may and could to explain to my students. I'm a teacher in English and I'm teaching to Dutch students.

What I found in the Dutch-English book is:

Might: use when something is least likely to happen.

May: use when something is likely to happen.

Could: use when somehting is most likely to happen.

Kind regards,

Jacqueline
AnonymousWhat I found in the Dutch-English book is:
Might: use when something is least likely to happen.
May: use when something is likely to happen.
Could: use when somehting is most likely to happen.
The problem with that explanation is that English speakers don't even agree on the probabilities indicated by these words. I doubt that a majority of us could agree on any kind of list like that.

CJ
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