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Dialogue 14 - Introduction

In this short dialogue we show some other uses of 'might' and 'may' in addition to talking about possible future happenings.   

To say that it is possible that something has happened in the past we can use

may/might have + past participle

'He may have overslept and missed the train'.

'There may have been a problem this morning.'


To say that something was possible but did not happen...

'You were stupid to lean out of the window. You might have fallen out and killed yourself!'


Sometimes 'might have' can refer to the present. It depends on context. Don't worry too much about using it but you might hear it in conversation.

'There's a noise on the stairs. He might have arrived!'

The reply is 'maybe' - a very common expression meaning 'perhaps' . It may be him or it may not.


Another example is - 'Will you come tomorrow?' Reply 'Maybe'  I may come but I may not.

Dialogue 14

C. Where is Arek? He isn't here! He's very late! He is usually on time.

G. He might have forgotten.

C. He may have overslept and missed the train. He might still come.

G. He might have missed the train but more likely the train is running late!

C. Yes....the train might be running late.  There may have been a problem with leaves on the line.

The trains to and from London always run late if there are leaves on the line! It was very windy last night and a lot of leaves may have fallen from the trees.

G. I'm going to look for him. I'll just open the window and look out.  The train may have arrived and he might becoming down the street.

C. Come back in.....you might fall if you are not careful.

G. OK.OK.  I'm coming.

C. You leaned out of the window too far! You were stupid to do that!  You might have fallen out and  killed yourself.

G. I might have fallen out but I didn't!

C. Did you see him?

G. No. I was too busy trying not to fall out!

C. There's a noise on the stairs. It might be him! He might have arrived. 

G. Maybe. Maybe not. It sounds like a young person coming up the stairs. 

G. & C. Hi Arek!

Dialogue 14 - Review

The last 2 dialogues did not include the use of 'may' and 'might' whilst talking about giving or asking for permission.

'May I buy you a drink?' Is a more formal way of saying 'Can I buy you a drink?'

'I wonder if I might change rooms as this room overlooks the noisy street' is a more formal way of saying 'Can I change rooms.......?

'May I clear the table?' Sounds more polite than 'Can I clear the table?'

'May I eat the last piece of chocolate cake' sounds less greedy and more polite than 'Can I eat the last piece?'


There are other uses of 'may' and 'might' but we have covered the main uses in the last two dialogues.

There are two last common sayings we 'might as well' mention. (there is nothing left or more important to do)

Arek isn't coming. .....We might as well go home.

Yes! I agree! He  isn't coming. We may just as well go!