Use of “Might” and “May” in English

a coffee; used to explain when to use "may" and "might"
I might have a coffee, but I might have a tea – I’m not sure.

When to use “may” in English conversation
We  use ‘may’ to ask for permission and it is almost exclusively used in formal language.

  • May I go to the toilet?
  • May I have a glass of milk?

We also use ‘may’ to suggest that something is  possibility.

  • My father may be coming to meet us at the cinema, but I’m not sure.
  • I may be able to help you tomorrow, but I can’t today.
  • It may rain later today, but I’m not sure.

When to use “might” in English conversation

You can use ‘might’ the same way as you can use “may”. But we normally consider that ‘might’ suggests a smaller possibility than ‘may’. But in reality, there is no real difference.

  • It might snow tomorrow, but it may not.
  • Dad might be able to help you with your homework, but I don’t think he will be home early enough.
  • I want to help but I need you to understand that I might not have time.
  • I might go to the concert, but I might not (50/50)

The past version of “might” = ‘might have’.

  • I don’t know where John is, but he might have got lost.
  • I lost my phone and I think I might have left it in taxi.
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When to use “may” in English conversation We  use ‘may’ to ask for permission and it is almost exclusively used in formal language. May...
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