Use of May, Might, Ought to

In the first part of the post related with Modals, we had done the use of Should and Would. Now we are focusing on May, Might and Ought to.

Check them with use and examples. Among them, may is most commonly used in the language.

Use of May –

To give and take permission –

  • May I borrow your book ?
  • Yes, you may.
  • May I have your attention ?

To show purpose –

  • We go there so that we may meet him.
  • She studies hard so that she can materialize her dreams.

Here so that can be substituted by that or in order that.

To show possibility – Around 50-60%

  • He may come today. ( It means there are 50 to 60% chances of his turning up. )
  • It may rain today.

 To show wish or prayer –

  • May you live long !
  • May you prosper in life !

Use of Might –

Might may be taken as the past of May in the following sentences.

To give / take order –

  • He asked me if he might take my pen.
  • I told him that he might go then.

To show wish or prayer –

  • The old woman prayed that I might live long.
  • She wished that her brother might become an IAS.

To show purpose –

  • He came here so that he might help me.

Might also shows remote possibility in the present –

  • He is ill. He might come today.

To show polite request –

  • Might I ask you a question ?

Use of Ought to –

To show advice –

  • You ought to read this book. ( Here should can also be used )

To express logical necessity –

  • You ought to start your work at once.

To show moral obligation –

  • We ought to defend out country.

To show probability –

  • John ought to be in the class this time.

Read all the modals from here.

Exercises for practice for Modals

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