‘may and might’

modals ‘may and might’


We can use ‘may’ to ask for permission. However this is rather formal and not used very often in modern spoken English.

  • May I leave now?

  • May I borrow your dictionary?

  • May we think about it until tomorrow?

We use ‘may’ to suggest something is possible.

  • Philip may come to stay with us

  • I may not have time to do it straightaway.

  • It may snow later today.


We use ‘might’ to suggest a small possibility of something. Often we read that ‘might’ suggests a smaller possibility that ‘may’, there is in fact little difference and ‘might is more usual than ‘may’ in spoken English.

  • It might rain this afternoon.

  • She might be at home by now but it’s not sure at all.

  • I might not have time to go to the shops for you.

  • I might not go.

For the past, we use ‘might have’.

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