Might - English Grammar Today - Cambridge Dictionaries Online
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Might: forms

Affirmative (+) form

Might comes first in the verb phrase (after the subject and before another verb):

She might sell her house.

This might be true.

Not: That might can be true. or That can might be true.

Negative (−) form

The negative form of might is might not or mightn’t. We don’t use don’t/doesn’t/didn’t with might:

There might not be anyone in the house. (or There mightn’t be …)

Not: There doesn’t might be anyone in the house.

Question (?) form

The subject and might change position to form questions.

Warning:

We don’t use do/does/did:

Might this be the key?

Not: Does this might be the key?

Mightn’t this be the key?

Not: Doesn’t might this be the key?

We can use might and mightn’t in question tags, but they’re not very common:

That might not be a bad idea, might it?

That plant might do better by the window, mightn’t it?

Might: uses

Possibility

We use might most often to refer to weak possibility:

I might go to Japan for a month to study Japanese.

The dog might bark when we pass by the gate.

They might not like very hot food.

Permission

We use might to refer to permission. It is very formal and is not used very often:

Might I ask your name?

Might I interrupt you for a moment?

Warning:

The reply to these will not contain might:

A:

Might I ask your address?

B:

Yes. It’s 41 Ross Avenue.

A:

Might I ask you a question?

B:

Yes. Of course.

Not: Yes. You might.

Suggestions

We can use might to give advice or make a suggestion sound more polite or less direct, especially when used together with like, prefer or want:

[A waiter politely suggesting a dessert to a customer.]

You might like to try one of our wonderful desserts.

Criticism

We often use might have + -ed form to express disapproval or criticism:

You might have told me you weren’t coming home for dinner. (you didn’t tell me)

You might have tidied your room.

Might: reporting may

We use might as the past form of may in indirect reports:

‘That may not be true’, she said.

She said that it might not be true.

Might: typical error

  • We don’t use might for ability; we use can or could:

Although you can visit these places, if you are tired, you’re welcome to stay in the hotel.

Not: Although you might visit these places

I could hear the noise of an engine.

Not: I might hear the noise of an engine.

(“Might” from English Grammar Today © Cambridge University Press. Need grammar practice? Try English Grammar Today with Workbook.)
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website
Word of the Day
child benefit

money received regularly by families from the government to help pay for the costs of taking care of children

Word of the Day

Are you a glass-half-full person? (Everyday Idioms)
Are you a glass-half-full person? (Everyday Idioms)
by Kate Woodford,
July 29, 2015
A reader of this blog recently asked for a post on idioms that are used in everyday English. This seemed like a reasonable request. After all, if you are going to make the effort to learn a set of English idioms, you want those idioms to be useful. The question, then, was

Read More 

responsible luxury noun
responsible luxury noun
August 03, 2015
high-end, green tourism and hospitality Jumeirah’s ‘responsible luxury’ approach is an example of a sustainable travel experience – future guests will enjoy the environment as much as today’s.

Read More