Does "Might" and "May" mean the same thing?


Hi everyone, I just joined the community, and I’m hoping somebody can educate me on the difference between might and may, or does it mean the same thing?


“I may be late”, but I can also say, “I might be late”.

“I might go to the party”, or “I may go to the party”.


All the sentences are right, and to me they mean the same thing. If any one could clarify this for me, or give me tips on how I can remember this subtle difference, it'll be really awesome. Thanks guys!

words confusion asked Aug 20 '13 at 16:12 Serene Coleman New member

2 answers


You are right, Serene, there is a subtle difference.  May is used when the outcome is more likely.  Might is used when it is less likely. 


I was going to post a link to Grammar Girl’s blog entry on this topic.  She summed it all up quite nicely.  But it won’t let me post & I suspect it is because of the link.  (We’ve been having some spam issues here, so perhaps they have removed the ability to add links.)  So, I’ll quote on paragraph.


“I remember the difference by thinking that I should use might when something is a mighty stretch. Imagine something you'd almost never do, and then imagine someone inviting you to do it. For me, it's white-water rafting. The idea terrifies me. So if someone (such as my former employer) asked me to go on a corporate bonding white-water rafting trip, it's unlikely I would go, but I could be convinced if I thought my job depended on it. But it would be a mighty stretch. So I'd say something like, "Yeah, I might go; and pigs might fly, too.”


Since it won’t allow me to post the URL where this came from, I can tell you that if you type “grammar girl may might” in your web browser, you’ll find it.   

link comment answered Aug 20 '13 at 17:28 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

The word might has two different applications. Firstly, as a verb in the reported speech it expresses possibility. Secondly, as a noun it means strength or power.


The word may has different applications.

1. It expresses possibility.

2.It shows that someone is allowed to do something.

3. It is often used to express polite request.

4. It expresses hope.


Also note that might is the past tense of may.

I hope this helps.

link answered Aug 20 '13 at 16:42 Scarlet Darwin Contributor

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grammnnAug 23 '13 at 08:50

I don't think this has any reference to the question asked.

Scarlet DarwinAug 23 '13 at 12:59

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