IELTS related grammar | may, might and must

Usage of may, might and must

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Today we will see the difference between may, might and must. Usage of may and might are very similar. In general, both are used to describe possibilities. Choice of one is more likely in different situations, but the use of both cannot be wrong completely. It is important to note that, might is the simple past tense of may. Grammar pundits insist on using may in simple present tense while might in the simple past tense. This is distinction is becoming blur day by day. Following are uses where may and might are replaceable with each other.

  • Express possibility

Looking at the clouds, I feel, it may rain today.

Looking at the clouds, I feel, it might rain today.

  • Ask permissions

May I enter your kitchen?

Might I have a chance to speak?

  • Grant Permissions

You may enter the class.

You might speak now.

Grammar books suggest that use of may implies a greater likelihood than the use of might. Both are equally accepted these days. While asking permissions, may is favored than might.

May is also used in the following situation.

  • Express wish or prayer

May all your dreams come true on your birthday.

Might is used in the following situations

  • Express counter facts

If they had lived in another time, their lives might have been different.

Must, on the other hand, is used to imply compulsion or obligation. Following are its uses

  • Be obliged

I must return his money.

  1. Necessity; need to

Humans must eat food and drink enough water to stay healthy.

  1. Compelled to, by law or force

You must complete the homework before you leave the class.

  1. Forced because of the requirement of honesty

I must come out clean. It’s me who stolen money from your bag.

  1. Urge to do

I must attend your party.

In conclusion, the use of must leaves you with no other possibility whereas the use of may or might is full of possibilities. Keep liking us so that we can keep posting these new things over here.

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