May vs Might

MAY vs MIGHT: How to Use Might vs May Correctly

May vs Might!!! What’s the difference between Might vs May?

May vs Might

The two commonly confused words actually have slightly different meanings.


May is used to express what is possible, factual, or could be factual.


  • The problem may be solved in a number of different ways.
  • You may go home now, John.

Might is used to express what is hypothetical, counterfactual, or remotely possible.


  • I might be a few minutes late.
  • He might be able to help you.


May and might can also both be used when asking for permission.

Asking for Permission

When asking for permission, may is much more common than might. While both of these words can be used to ask permission, if you’re not careful, they can lead to ambiguity.


  • May I come in and wait?
  • May I go to the movies tonight?
  • Might I make a modest suggestion?

Giving permission


  • Thank you. You may go now.
  • You may sit down or stand, just as you wish.

Requests and Suggestions

When politely or formally making a request, asking for information, or making a suggestion, might is regarded as preferable to may.


  • May we use your office for a few minutes?
  • Might I borrow your pen?
  • If you need more information, you might try the Internet.


If you want to express a wish or hope, then may is always the correct word to use.


  • May I have the bill, please?

Differences Between Might vs May | Infographic

Might vs May – When to Use May vs Might

May vs Might

MAY vs MIGHT: How to Use Might vs May Correctly 1

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9 months ago

I think that your description of may/might in relation to “Possibility” is confused. Both “may” and “might” express what is possibly factual with minimal nuances. They can be and are used interchangeably. e.g. “He may come but he may not.” is interchangeable with “He might come but he might not.” To a very experienced user of English “might” possibly contains a hint that the event is more related to a personal choice, but this distinction is so subtle that learners of English can ignore it. As for “might” being used to express what is counterfactual, I fail to see how… Read more »

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