Difference between May and Might | Might vs May

What is the Difference between May and Might

English grammar is the set of rules that defines how sentences are put together in English. It consists of word order, syntactic structure, and other things like agreement between verb and subject. In this article, we shall explore the difference between the verbs ‘may’ and ‘might’.

Table of Contents

‘May’ and ‘might’ are often used interchangeably as both words are used to express possibility. However, English is a very intriguing language, and the meaning of some words can change with usage. For example, the words ‘may’ and ‘might’ can also be used to ask permission, make a request or provide a suggestion. It can also be used as a noun, to indicate the fifth month of the year. The following table will highlight the differences between ‘may’ and ‘might’, as well as their usage and examples.

Table Summarising the Difference between May and Might

May

Might

Usage

Usually used as a modal verb. Can also be used as a noun

Might can be used as a modal verb as well as a noun

Meaning

Verb:

  1. Possibility
  2. Ask or give permission
  3. Expressing hope or a wish

Noun:

  1. Hawthorns (a species of flower)
  2. The fifth month of the year (May)

Verb:

  1. Past of may
  2. Used to express a polite request or ask a permission
  3. Used to make a suggestion or express a possibility

Noun:

  1. A display of strength or power

The Meaning of May and Might

As discussed above, the meaning of ‘may’ and ‘might’ can change depending on the use case. Moreover, these two words can be expressed as a noun as well as a verb.

  • May meaning:

As a verb, ‘may’ can imply:

  1. Possibility
  2. Ask permission
  3. Expressing hope or a wish

As a noun, it can refer to:

  1. Hawthorns, which are a species of flower.
  2. The fifth month of the year, which is often considered to be the last month of the spring season
  • Might meaning:

As a verb, might refers to:

  1. Past of may
  2. Used to express a polite request or ask a permission
  3. Used to make a suggestion or express a possibility

As a noun, it means:

  1. A display of strength or power

Examples for Might and May:

We can better understand the meanings behind these words with examples:

  • May examples:

Verb

  1. Possibility – They may be obsolete, but they are reliable.
  2. Ask / give permission – You may take the rest of the day off.
  3. Expressing hope or a wish – May the future be bright.

Noun

  1. The fifth month of the year – She will return to India in May.
  • Might examples:

Verb

  1. Past of may – She might be home.
  2. Used to express a polite request or ask a permission – Might I ask your name?
  3. Used to make a suggestion or express a possibility – This might seem too good to be true.

Noun

  1. A display of strength or power – He pushed the smouldering wreckage aside with all his might.

May vs. Might – Conclusion

English grammar is important for students because it helps them to better understand the nuances of the language, and also to polish their writing skills. Good grammar can also help a student’s grade in school, and it can help them find success in all facets of life. In this article, we have explored the differences between ‘may’ and ‘might’, their usage and examples.

Explore other important English differences between articles, only at BYJU’S English.

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