What is the Difference Between May Have and Might Have?

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  1. To Learn English profile image60
    To Learn Englishposted 4 years ago

    What is the Difference Between May Have and Might Have?

    I was confused, when I had to use either "may have" or "might have" in a sentence. The sentence is - "You may have / might have skipped the first two paragraphs". What should I use in this sentence? How "may have" is different than "might have"? Is it related to the certainty or tense? Please explain.

  2. Venkatachari M profile image29
    Venkatachari Mposted 4 years ago

    Might have refers to already performed action. It is past tense of "may have". May have can also refer to some uncertain possibility. If you use "may have" in the above example given by you, it can mean that there is the probability of skipping the first two paragraphs by you. But if you use "might have", it will mean that you skipped the paragraphs with some certain possibility.
    So "might have" can refer to both already performed action and also to some certain possible probability.

    1. To Learn English profile image60
      To Learn Englishposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks for the answer. Your answer is very helpful. But I still have a doubt. Let's talk about the future tense. For example, "You may / might skip the first two paragraphs." Here, may is more probable than might?

    2. Venkatachari M profile image29
      Venkatachari Mposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, true. Talking about future tense, you are correct in saying "you may skip the first two paragraphs". It is the right one.

  3. dashingscorpio profile image88
    dashingscorpioposted 4 years ago

    The word (may) often implies something (is) available to you.
    For example you go to a breakfast buffet and on the table are biscuits, waffles, and pancakes. You (may) have any or all of them.
    On the other hand lets say you wanted French toast  and you were told they (might) have some at the breakfast buffet. This implies (if) they have some you (may) get it.   
    People are more likely to say; "May I offer you something to drink?" rather than "Might I offer you something to drink?"

    Might most often implies their is an element of (doubt). While the word (may) can sometimes imply doubt but more often implies the (choice) is up to you!

    1. To Learn English profile image60
      To Learn Englishposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks! Your answer is very helpful!

    2. Venkatachari M profile image29
      Venkatachari Mposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Good answer, dashingscorpio ! "Might" more often refers to probability in past tense. In your above reply, you mentioned "they (might) have some at the breakfast buffet. It implies that previously they had stock. But not sure whether they got it now.

 
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