Revised as of 23 September 2017
Traditionally, the verbs may and might are present and past tense, and they are increasingly being used interchangeably for casual use.
I may have some dessert after dinner, if I’m still hungry.
I might have known that the highway would be closed because of the storm.
Understanding this difference between traditional and casual can be useful when showing a character’s background, class, or educational level.
You might also want to explore the post, “Can versus May“; you may discover more about using may.
…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.
|Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: may|
|Part of Grammar:|
|Noun 1, Proper Noun 2;
Verb, intransitive 2;
1st, 2nd, and 3rd Person Present Singular and Plural Modal Verb 3
Past tense: might
1st, 2nd, and 3rd Person Past Singular and Plural Modal Verb 3
Present tense: may
[British] Hawthorn tree
[British] Hawthorn blossom
[Archaic] A maiden 4
[Usually, one’s May; literary] One’s bloom or prime
May Day festivities
Given name of a female
Express a wish or hope
Express contingency, especially in clauses indicating condition, concession, purpose, result, etc.
[Archaic] Express ability or power
Great and impressive power or strength, especially of a nation, large organization, or natural force
Used in questions and requests
Used to express possibility or make a suggestion
The may blossoms are coming out.
It was a miserable May morning, overcast and raining.
The others murmured that their May was passing.
We may as well get on with it.
That may be true.
He may well win.
They may have been old-fashioned, but they were excellent teachers.
You may use a sling if you wish.
May I ask a few questions?
May she rest in peace.
We may as well enter, as it won’t get any easier.
I may be wrong but I think you would be wise to go.
Times may change but human nature stays the same.
May you live to an old age.
We’ll have to live with it, come what may.
It was a convincing display of military might.
“Might is right” is a poor philosophy to embrace.
He lifted with all his might.
With might and main, we shall overcome our enemy.
Ah, geez, I might have known you did it.
They said he might be late.
We might have won if we’d played better.
You might have told me!
She avoided social engagements so that she might work.
Might I ask one question?
You might just call me Jane, if you don’t mind.
And who might you be?
This might be true.
You might try melatonin to help you sleep.
|Adverb: maybe, mayhap
Contraction: mayn’t, may’ve
Noun: a-maying, maybe, Mayday, Maytime, maying, maypole
|Adjective: mightier, mightiest, mightless, mighty
Contraction: mightn’t, might’ve
Noun: might-have-been, mightiness
|History of the Word:|
|1 Late Middle English from the proper noun, May.||5 Old English miht or mieht is of Germanic origin.|
C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?
Pinterest Photo Credits
Credit to Crystal Links for its “Happy May Day” post.