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I might have a copy in the garage. I'll take a look.

Is "might" a modal or an adverb, there? How can we tell?
Comments  
Might is always considered a modal in English. However, and that is why I think yours is a good question, in other languages, such as my own – which is Dutch – we do in fact add an adverb to
the verb phrase of the sentence.

In the end, the difference between a modal and an adverb is not quite that distinguishable, as they both give extra information and can be left out.

Note: modal verb = type of auxiliary

If we were to make a question of the sentence we can see if might is in fact a modal auxiliary.

That would be, Can/Could I have a copy in the garage? I'll take a look.

You can see that 'might' has been subsituted with 'can/could', because might is never used in questions to express specific possibility – which is the case here.

So, how does this prove that 'might' is a modal auxiliary? Well, because of the following

If we replace 'might' with a word of which we know for a fact that it is an adverb, like 'usually', and we were to make a question of it, we would get this.

I usually have a copy in the garage ----> Do I usually have a copy in the garage?

As you may have noticed, a form of 'do' is used. And, as you may or may not know, we use a form of 'do' to make questions if there is only one verb in the sentence, provided that verb is not a form
of 'to be'.

But, apart from this explanation, you had better remember that 'might' always is a modal auxiliary.
Except perhaps when it denotes the noun 'might', as in 'superman's might', but, of course, you will
notice immediately if this is so.

I hope that this has (thorougly) answered your question.

Kind regards

Jordy
As you know, M., "might" is conventionally regarded as a "modal verb" in such uses.

However, I seem to recall a thread in the distant past, in which you suggested that it might be adverbial.

You never elaborated on that suggestion; but you are welcome to do so now.

MrP
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dokterjokkebrokIf we replace 'might' with a word of which we know for a fact that it is an adverb, like 'usually', and we were to make a question of it, we would get this.

I usually have a copy in the garage ----> Do I usually have a copy in the garage?
When the original sentence is third person singular, the "adverb" theory runs into even more trouble:

- She has a copy in the garage.

Adding an adverb has no impact on the form of the main verb:

- She possibly has a copy in the garage.

Using a modal impacts the form of the main verb. It results in the use of a bare infinitive:
- She might have a copy in the garage.

We do not need a form of "do" to build the interrogative form with a modal:
- Might she have a copy in the garage? ---> Does she possibly have a copy in the garage?

I suspect the original poster has simply heard of a special regional use of "might" that doesn't follow the usual patterns of modal verb use. In that case, I'd probably think of this special use of "might" simply as part of an interesting regional idiom.

It did occur to me that the original poster might have been thinking of a particular "modal stacking" phenomenon, which can be heard in the English of the southeastern part of the US. However, since his original sentence did not stack any modals, I ruled out the possibility that he was actually referring to that.
Emotion: smile
< I seem to recall a thread in the distant past, in which you suggested that it might be adverbial.>

Not me, P.
Many thanks, Jordi.
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Welcome. And thank you Yankee for the necessary corrections.
It is a flipin model verb