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Understanding and Using Modal Verbs (#5), by Dennis Oliver

Modal Verbs #5:
Individual Modal Verbs

 

The English modal verbs are often challenging for learners
of English. This happens for many reasons, including both
grammar and meaning.

In earlier Hints, we reviewed uses of may. In this Hint, we'll
take a look at some characteristics of
might.


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Might #1:
Present and Future Possibility

 

We saw in an earlier Hint that the modal auxiliary might is
often used as a past form for
may when (1) a sentence contains
indirect speech and (2) the main verb of the sentence is in
a
past tense.

Might is also used in other ways, however. One of them is
in showing
possibility in present or future time. Both might
and
may are used in this way, but with might, the degree of
possibility is weaker than it is with
may.


Examples:


We
might come to the party.

(The chances are not high that we will come
to the party, but it's still possible that we will.)


I'm not sure where Frank is. He
might be on vacation.

(There's a chance that Frank is on vacation,
but I'm not very sure that he is.)


It
might rain tomorrow.

(It's not very likely that it will rain, but rain
is still possible.)


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Special Notes:

1.

silent letters in might

The letters g and h are silent in might: they are
written but not pronounced.

     
2.

the pronunciation of might

Might is sometimes hard to understand because the
final
t is often not clearly pronounced. Because of this,
might sometimes sounds like my.

     
3.  

This use of might is not past.

When might is used to show a slight possibility in
present or future time (as it was used in the examples
given above), it is
not a past form


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Next: more on modal verbs
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