Difference between “may” and “might”

Difference between "may" and "might" Espresso English

I may get a new hat… does this one look good on me?

Difference between "may" and "might" Espresso EnglishThis is a free sample from the e-book  600+ Confusing English Words Explained. It will help clear up your doubts about how to use English words correctly, so that you can speak and write more confidently. Click here for more information!

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!

Clear up your doubts about confusing words… and use English more confidently!

Difference between "may" and "might" Espresso English

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