January 31, 2012
Jon Gingerich is an editor, a fiction writer, and writes about politics and media. Click on the title to read the column in its entirety - including all of the twenty common mistakes.
You can learn more about Jon by clicking on his name.
May and Might
“May” implies a possibility. “Might” implies far more uncertainty. “You may get drunk if you have two shots in ten minutes” implies a real possibility of drunkenness. “You might get a ticket if you operate a tug boat while drunk” implies a possibility that is far more remote. Someone who says “I may have more wine” could mean he/she doesn't want more wine right now, or that he/she “might” not want any at all. Given the speaker’s indecision on the matter, “might” would be correct.