Questions and negatives:

We make questions by putting the subject after may/might:
May I …? Could I … Might I …? Etc.

The negative forms are may not and might not..

We use may:

  • when we are not sure about something:

Jack may be coming to see us tomorrow.
Oh dear! It’s half past ten. We may be late for the meeting.
There may not be very many people there.

  • to make polite requests:

May I borrow the car tomorrow?
May we come a bit later?

When we use may not for a refusal it is emphatic:

You may not!
You may not borrow the car until you can be more careful with it.

We use might:

• when we are not sure about something:

I might see you tomorrow.
It looks nice, but it might be very expensive.
It’s quite bright. It might not rain today.

• As the past tense of may for requests:

He asked if he might borrow the car.
They wanted to know if they might come later.

• For very polite requests:

Might I ask you a question?
Might we just interrupt for a moment?

We use may have and might have to show that something has possibly happened now or happened at some time in the past:

It’s ten o’clock. They might have arrived now.[= Perhaps they have arrived]
They may have arrived hours ago. [= Perhaps they arrived hours ago.]

 

Exercise

Comments

hi , thank you for explaining for us the modal verbs because their are really confused but what we miss here is the exercises .

hi i can't use the exercise i all grammar lessons please help me.
 

Hi Kafa

Would you mind telling us what sort of computer you are using? Also, could you tell us what browser you are using to open this page?

Thanks

Jack

The LearnEnglish Team

hello everybody,nice to meet you all,

hi, here's too much exercises to learn ..can you tell me that what I start firstly..

Hello fatima!
 
Welcome to the site! Don't worry too much about where to start – choose whatever you like! If you're taking English classes, you can look for exercises that match your course. If not, then look for what interest you. A good place to start is our Elementary English podcasts. These have a short radio program and exercises to help you understand them, and have a different topic each episode. 
 
Have fun!

Jeremy Bee
The Learn English Team

i really apperciate it. this typic could help me,
but i need to learn "be able to" and "be able to not " and use them with may and might
i m sorry for my poor english :)

At first thank you for this helpful site and here is my question: 
I can't understand the following examples:
1.It’s ten o’clock. They might have arrived now.
2.They may have arrived hours ago.
It seems to me that in 1. sentence must be-"may have..." and in 2.-"might have..."
After all the first question is about present tense and the second is about the past...Isn't it so?
Please explain me this point.
Thanks in advance. 

Hello Anahit!
 
Don't worry – these modal verbs can be confusing! However, remember that the tense of the modal (may or might) doesn't relate to the time of the main verb. Because of this, there is no rule to use may 'for present' or might 'for past' – either is OK.
 
You can see this in the grammar examples, because both 1 and 2 are actually talking about the past. In 1, the speaker thinks they might already be here – that is, they arrived in the past. 2 is the same, but the speaker thinks there is a chance they actually came hours ago. 
 
You can find more by clicking on the Grammar: may, might tag, or doing a search on may and might using our search box.
 
Hope that helps!
 
Regards
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish team

hai friends i am so excited to join in BC. I think it will help me to improve my english skils i am glad to join in tis site.

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