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Does this sentence makes sense gramatically? There are parts cancelled for data protection purposes.

"It may be thought that the fact that they succeeded so... is attributed to miss..... willingness to accept what she saw and heard at face value." He told the inquiry.

What concerns me is why they used may in present and thought in past tense.
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thought here isn't past tense, but past participle (which isn't related to time, even if it name says so)

may

is a modal verb
its connection to times/tenses is quite loose
but yes, in this situation it relates to the present
may just inserts some element of doubt/probability in this case ...

may be thought
is overall in present
take it as an verbal construction
with its present time given mostly by may
similar to
it can be thought
but with more doubt
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"It may be thought that XYZ happened" = "It is possible to think that XYZ happened". The possibility is present (or future), though XYZ is past.

MrP
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Comments  
KurdistanDoes this sentence makes sense gramatically? There are parts cancelled for data protection purposes.

"It may be thought that the fact that they succeeded so... is attributed to miss..... willingness to accept what she saw and heard at face value." He told the inquiry.

What concerns me is why they used may in present and thought in past tense.

Kurd,

If you replaced "thought" with "considered", it will make more sense to you. "Thought" is being used in a passive voice.

"May" in this context is not tense-sensitive. Marius already explained it.
 MrPedantic's reply was promoted to an answer.
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