Talk:may

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May is described as an adverb here. When I started learning English about 30 years ago I was told that may is a verb, albeit a special one (to may doesn't exist). AFAIK that hasn't changed. What happened to the English language when I was not watching? :-) D.D. 20:34 Jan 1, 2003 (UTC)

You're right. Eclecticology

May I ask what the **** frectel and schnock mean?

Webkid 19:02, 13 Dec 2003 (UTC)

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may[edit]

Tagged, not listed. Etym 3: verb. --Connel MacKenzie 13:22, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

The legitimate entry would be for a-Maying, possibly in Middle English. Chaucerian. Not sure what the lemma form would be. DCDuring TALK 16:37, 7 February 2008 (UTC)


Past tense[edit]

In what contexts is might used as the past tense of may? What I mean is: You may smoke means "you're allowed to smoke", but can you might smoke mean "you were allowed to smoke"?? I'm not saying that "might" is not a form of the verb "may". It is. But is it really the past tense?

  • "It might have been." seems to be a past tense usage. (but "It may have been." seems to convey the same meaning.) SemperBlotto (talk) 19:40, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Go to might and look at sense 2 and 3. Ƿidsiþ 18:16, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

"He may be slow..."[edit]

Consider the sentence "He may be slow, but he is strong".
There is no irrealis sense of possibility or probability or permission in this sentence. It is saying the person is slow, but despite that, they are strong.
This use of the word "may" doesn't seem to match up with any of the definitions given... I guess it could count as "concession" under the "Used in modesty, courtesy, or concession, or to soften a question or remark" definition, but I feel it deserves its own entry.
It seems to be used to mark a clause as contrasting with another one which is true despite it.
--AndreRD (talk) 19:31, 6 February 2018 (UTC)