Como usar MAY e MIGHT, parte 1 (podcast)

By Ana Luiza | Podcast Inglês Online

May 04
Inglês - Como usar MAY e MIGHT, parte 1 (podcast)

Hi, everyone. Hoje eu falo sobre as diferenças (ou seria ‘similaridades’?) entre maymight. Esse episódio é a parte 1 do assunto, que continua com mais um episódio em algumas semanas. :)


inglês: possibilities


Hi, everyone. This is the new episode of the Inglesonline podcast. Please subscribe to this podcast using the Podcasts app for iPhone or iPad, or listen to the episodes using the Inglesonline Android app. Thanks for all the comments at the iTunes store and if you haven’t yet left a comment for this podcast please do so: the more comments for the Inglesonline podcast, the more people will find out about it and listen to the episodes. Thank you for telling your friends, your neighbours, your family and keep listening.

This episode is part 1 of a two-part series about MAY and MIGHT. Trust me, it’s not a complicated topic – you’ll see. However I try to keep every episode under five minutes, so I’m guessing I’ll have two episodes to cover all the examples of may and might I wanna give you. So this is part 1, and part 2 is coming up in a few weeks.

OK – let’s talk about the basic differences between MAY and MIGHT. Actually I should say… Let’s talk about all the similarities between MAY and MIGHT, since, as it turns out, these are more frequent than the differences. My hope for this episode is that it helps dispel the myth that there are rigid rules about the usage of one or the other – most of the time, there aren’t. So just relax and give this episode a good listen.

Fist off, both may and might are very common when we talk about possibility. If you come to London I will tell you that you might have a hard time getting on the tube after midnight. That’s because most tube stations close around thirty minutes after midnight. You might have a hard time, but it is possible to get on the tube after midnight. And I could also have told you “You may have a hard time getting on the tube after midnight.”

And what would be the difference in that case? Well, you will find that some people think that it’s better to use might when something is less likely, and may when something is a bit more likely… I’ll admit that that’s how I do it, and that’s the general feeling I get from listening to English. If you have a different experience in your contact with native English, please let me know in the comments. So I, in particular, would say “You may have a hard time…” if I thought that would be more likely to happen.

Now, here’s what I really want you to pay attention to: is that a rule? Would one or the other significantly change the meaning of what I’m saying? The answer is “No.” Some grammar books state that may means a stronger possibility than might; and by the same token, other people, including teachers, think that this is a very flexible “rule.”

So here are other things I could say using may and might interchangeably: I may go to the party – I’m not sure yet. We might swing by after dinner. Jane may call you about the report… She seems to be unclear on a few numbers. My friends might enjoy this restaurant. I may go to the gym on Sunday but I’m not sure yet. So just for the sake of being very clear, here are the same examples with the other word: I might go to the party – I’m not sure yet. We may swing by after dinner. Jane might call you about the report… She seems to be unclear on a few numbers. My friends may enjoy this restaurant. I might go to the gym on Sunday but I’m not sure yet.

When talking about present and future possibilities in life – such as illustrated in the examples, use may or might fearlessly. In part 2 I’ll explore slightly different situations and we’ll see what works best with each one of them. Now go ahead and type a couple of your own examples in the comment area. Talk to you next time!


Key terms

  • may
  • might



dispel the myth = acabar com, quebrar o mito de

have a hard time (doing something) = vai ser difícil (fazer algo)

by the same token = da mesma maneira

interchangeably = um ou o outro, sem prejudicar o resultado

swing by = dar uma passada



About the Author

Ana Luiza criou um blog de dicas de inglês em 2006, e depois de muito pesquisar o que faz alguém ganhar fluência numa segunda língua, criou seu primeiro curso de inglês em 2009.

  • Advaldo says:

    I loved your tips and now i gonna hear every single day Maybe you may/might , i’m gonna use may.

  • Bruno says:

    Excellent material! Congratulations. Keep doing these great podcasts.

  • Este seu site é sensacional, parabéns!!!!

  • Paulo Marques says:

    Hi Ana, just dropping by to say that your work is my everyday medicine.
    Keep Rocking ^^

  • Carla Fagundes says:

    Suas matérias são excelentes! Nunca as canso de ler, pois são claras, objetivas e muito bem redigidas…Parabéns!

    • Ana Luiza says:

      Que bom, Carla, obrigada!!
      Aproveite mesmo :)

      • Millie says:

        coucou Alexandrades souvenirs aussi grands que beaux…ça prend de la place mais avec toi tout prend rapidement une allure de création réussie!!!le top à découvrir vicleulement!!mersi à toiBisesMC

  • Mario Moraes says:

    Hi, Ana Luiza … I keep thinking when that British accent may (or should I say might – just kidding) come up.
    Congrats for the site, keep up with the wonderful job, success ever and take care.
    See you,

  • jonata fontela says:

    Hey Ana !! I learned that there isn’t any differences between may and might… least I cant tell the difference…lol I noticed that sometimes when someone gives a suggestion they’ll say .. yeah.. I might do that … i think it sounds a little strange… idk why.. but ..its ok.. hahah

    • Ana Luiza says:

      Hi Jonata,
      in the context of the examples I used in this podcast, may or might are basically interchangeable.
      There are other situations where may and might can differ. I’ll talk about those in the next part.

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