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English definition of “may”


modal verb (POSSIBILITY)    /meɪ/
A2 used to express possibility : There may be other problems that we don't know about. I may see you tomorrow before I leave . The cause of the accident may never be discovered . The explosion may have been caused by a faulty electrical connection . We'd better not interfere - she may not like it. There may be some evidence to suggest she's guilty , but it's hardly conclusive . → Compare might modal verbAchievablePossible and probable might modal verbGrammar:Can, could or may: typical errorsGrammar:MayGrammar:May: formsGrammar:May: usesGrammar:Maybe or may be?We use maybe and may be to talk about possibility. They are often confused because we use them both when we think that something is possible but we are not certain.Grammar:Maybe as an adverbMaybe /ˈmeɪbi/ is an adverb and it means the same as perhaps. It is written as one word:Grammar:May beIn the phrase may be /meɪ bi:/ may is a modal verb and be is a main or auxiliary verb. Here may and be are two separate words, whereas maybe is one word:
(Definition of may modal verb (POSSIBILITY) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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