We use may and might to talk about possible actions or happenings in the future:
- I haven’t decided where to go on holiday. I may go to Ireland. (= perhaps I will go there)
- Take an umbrella with you. It might rain later. (= perhaps it will rain)
- The bus isn’t always on time. We might have to wait a few minutes. (= perhaps we will have to wait)
The negative forms are may not and might not (mightn’t):
- Amy may not go out tonight. She isn’t feeling well. (= perhaps she will not go out)
- There might not be enough time to discuss everything at the meeting. (= perhaps there will not be enough time)
- I’m going to buy a car. (for sure)
- I may buy a car. or I might buy a car. (possible)
Usually you can use may or might. So you can say:
- I may go to Ireland. or I might go to Ireland.
- Jane might be able to help you. or Jane may be able to help you.
But we use might (not may) when the situation is not real:
- If they paid me better, I might work harder. (not I may work)
This situation (If they paid me better) is not real. They do not pay me well, so I’m not going to work harder.
Compare may/might be -ing and will be -ing:
- Don’t phone at 8.30. I’ll be watching the football on TV.
- Don’t phone at 8.30. I might be watching the football on TV. (= perhaps I’ll be watching it)
We also use may/might be -ing for possible plans. Compare:
- I’m going to Ireland soon. (for sure)
- I might be going (or I may be going) to Ireland soon. (possible)
might as well
Helen and Clare have just missed the bus. The buses run every hour
We might as well do something = we should do it because there is no better alternative. There is no reason not to do it. You can also use may as well.
- a: What time are you going out? b: Well, I’m ready, so I might as well go now. or … I may as well go now.
- Buses are so expensive these days, you might as well get a taxi. (= taxis are as good, no more expensive than buses
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