Dictionary Suite


Grammatical Patterns
part of speech: auxiliary verb
inflections: may, might
definition 1: to be allowed to. (Cf. can1.)
You may take a break now, but please be back in fifteen minutes.[modal verb + bare infinitive ] May I sit here?[modal verb + bare infinitive ] Students may not keep pets in the dormitories.[modal verb + bare infinitive ]
definition 2: used to express the possibility of something happening or being true.
He may arrive tonight if he can catch the last train.[modal verb + bare infinitive ] Her injuries are serious, but she may still recover.[modal verb + bare infinitive ] I didn't get a scholarship, so I may not be able to go to that private school after all.[modal verb + bare infinitive ] A witness may have seen a man running away from the scene of the crime.[modal verb + bare infinitive ] My parents may have been stricter with my older siblings than with me.[modal verb + bare infinitive ]
definition 3: used to express a heartfelt wish, desire, or proclamation.
May your dreams come true![modal verb + bare infinitive ] May they live a long and happy life together![modal verb + bare infinitive ]
definition 4: to be able to (used in clauses and preceded by "so that" or "that").
I will tell them the truth so that they may understand my decision.[modal verb + bare infinitive ]
definition 5: used to admit that something is true.
He may be a little slow, but his work is always of very high quality.[modal verb + bare infinitive ] New York City may be crowded and expensive, but I find it an exciting place to live in.[modal verb + bare infinitive ]