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Should "might" replace "may"? Options
Koh Elaine
Posted: Thursday, January 2, 2020 7:27:16 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/4/2012
Posts: 6,705
Neurons: 28,010
Japan's Asahi Shimbun suggested Ghosn may have flown out of Kansai Airport near Osaka.

Should "might" replace "may" to indicate Ghosn's flight out of Japan is a thing of the past?

Thanks.
Orson Burleigh
Posted: Thursday, January 2, 2020 8:11:37 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/12/2011
Posts: 255
Neurons: 140,041
Location: Annapolis, Maryland, United States
Koh Elaine wrote:
Japan's Asahi Shimbun suggested Ghosn may have flown out of Kansai Airport near Osaka.

Should "might" replace "may" to indicate Ghosn's flight out of Japan is a thing of the past?

Thanks.


In normal, modern usage 'may' and 'might' are often interchangeable. The use of either 'may' or 'might' in this sentence would make no change to the meaning. Using the perfect form 'have flown' in the sentence indicates that the writer was certain that 'Ghosn's flight out of Japan' was 'a thing of the past,' that Ghosn's departure was a completed action. The use of either 'may' or 'might' in this sentence is related to uncertainty concerning the specific site of Ghosn's departure: Ghosn might have flown out of Kansai Airport, or he may have left from some other place.
Koh Elaine
Posted: Thursday, January 2, 2020 12:48:49 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/4/2012
Posts: 6,705
Neurons: 28,010
Many thanks, Orson!
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