Collins Improve your Grammar says that might cannot be used for future possibility. The books says:

Always remember that might is in the past tense form. May is correct when the outcome is still unknown.

The example sentence is:

He might leave for New York tonight. (wrong)

Collins Improve your Grammar states that the sentence is wrong and it should be He may leave for New York tonight.

I think with both may and might the outcome is unknown. Could you please shed some light on this?

Best regards,



Put that book in file 13 where it belongs.


  • When indirect speech is introduced by a verb in the past tense, might can be used as the past tense of may: She said that she might go and stay with her mother.
  • There is no future tense, but might is used for talking about future possibilities: It might rain tomorrow.

See entry A2



used to express the possibility that something will happen or be done, or that something is true although not very likely:

  • I might come and visit you next year, if I can save enough money.
  • Don't go any closer - it might be dangerous/it might not be safe.
  • Driving so fast, he might have had a nasty accident (= it could have happened but it did not).
  • The rain might have stopped by now.
Mr. TomCollins Improve your Grammar says that might cannot be used for future possibility.

Emotion: surprise Emotion: surprise Emotion: surprise

No, no, no!

Keep that book out of the reach of children!
It might harm them (in the future).

Mr. TomHe might leave for New York tonight. (wrong)

OMG. I'm going to have a heart attack.

Mr. TomCould you please shed some light on this?

I am too shaken. I can't even speak. Maybe next week, when I've recovered from all these linguistic shocks.

Emotion: wink

Who is messing with the system and not displaying the icon?
Why is the system substituting "Emotion: wink" for the icon?
I want my money back!

Oh, sure. Just when I add more text to complain, the icon comes back.

Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?


Usage Note:

May or might? In many situations, the choice between these two verbs can be clarified by remembering that might is the past tense form of may, and that in English, a past tense form is used to refer not just to events that occurred in the past (She left yesterday), but to hypothetical, counterfactual, or remotely possible situations (If you left now, you'd get there on time.) Thus, the past tense form might is appropriate in this sentence about a future event that is a remote possibility: If I won the lottery, I might buy a yacht, which contrasts with the present-tense version that indicates an open possibility: If I win the lottery, I may buy a yacht. When referring to a hypothetical or contrary-to-fact situation in the past, rather than an imagined future situation, the verbs are shifted to the remote past: won becomes had won, and might buy becomes might have bought: If I had won the lottery, I might have bought a yacht. Since about the 1960s, however, people have started using may have where might have would be expected (as in, If he hadn't tripped, he may have won the race). Although this usage is common in casual speech, it is considered unacceptable by the majority of the Usage Panel. In our 2012 survey, 97 percent of the Usage Panelists found the sentence If John Lennon had not been shot, the Beatles might have gotten back together acceptable.

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I am grateful, AStar and CJ for the effort. You might want to see:



Yeah, there's no eBook, no reviews.

Toss this one... file 13.