The difference between may and might is very small:
Use “may” when the event is slightly more likely to happen
- “What are you doing this weekend?”
“Shopping! I’m going to buy some new clothes, and I may get a new hat as well.” (it’s slightly more probable that I will buy the hat)
- ”What are you doing this weekend?”
“I might go to the movies. I’m not sure.”
(it’s slightly less probable that I will go to the movies)
In the past, always use “might” (in the structure might + have + past participle)
- “Why is Sheila so happy today?”
“I don’t know. She might have gotten a promotion – I’d heard a rumor that the boss was thinking of making her manager.”
Always use “may” when asking for permission
- “May I open the window?”
This question is correct, but it sounds rather formal. Most English speakers would probably say “Can I open the window?” in everyday life.
Always use “might” with “not”
- I may not go to the wedding.
In this case, may not sounds like I don’t have permission to go.
- I might not go to the wedding.
In this case, might not means maybe I will go, maybe I won’t go.
Many native English speakers do not make a major distinction between may and might, and the two words are often used interchangeably - so don’t worry too much about it!
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