Modal Verbs May, How to Use Modal Verbs in English

Modal Verbs May, How to Use Modal Verbs in English

Modal Verbs May, How to Use Modal Verbs in English


May is used in the possibilities that we expect to take place now or in the future, and in sentences that we expressly ask for permission. There is not much difference in meaning between May and might. In negative sentence setup, it is written as ‘may not’ or ‘might not’. May and might are used in negative sentences, ‘not’ is written separately from these two words, not combined.

1. There is also one point that should not be confused, that ‘may be’ and ‘maybe’ should not be confused. Maybe it’s a preposition.

  • Maybe I can go to school tomorrow.
  • Jane may be very upset about this situation.

English Modals Table and Example Sentences

2. In sentences set with May, when asking for something from the other side, kindly asking, the subject in the sentence is always ‘I’.

  • May I please open the door? (correct)
  • May you please open the window? (wrong)


3. When asking for permission or giving permission to the other party in a matter we use ‘may’.

  • I may take you to work if you want.
  • There’s no chair to sit anywhere, May I sit next to you?


4. ‘May’ is used to refer to the possibility or suspicious situation.

  • I may get bad grades in exams, I’m not sure of any.
  • The roads snowed all night on the rocks, watch out that your car may slide.

5. When talking about some goals for the future, ‘may’ is used in sentences.

  • I bought myself a thick coat in case it may be very rainy this winter.
  • I told him all the facts that it may upset him that I lied.


5. The phrase ‘may’ is used to describe the possibilities of a past situation. Then ‘have’ and verb 3 is used.

  • They may have moved here two years ago.
  • She may have heard everything you just said.

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