Services publics et Approvisionnement Canada
Symbole du gouvernement du Canada

Liens institutionnels

 

Avis important

Bonne nouvelle! Nous avons modernisé nos outils d’aide à la rédaction. Les outils Writing Tips et The Canadian Style ont été fusionnés pour créer un nouvel outil appelé Writing Tips Plus.

N’oubliez pas de mettre à jour vos favoris. L’outil Writing Tips ne sera plus accessible d’ici quelques semaines.

Rechercher dans Canada.ca
Pour commencer votre recherche, cliquez sur la première lettre du mot voulu dans l'alphabet ci-dessous.

may, might

May and might are helping verbs that can express possibility or permission.

  • I may (or might) go to the conference with Johanne tomorrow.
  • May I have some more cake?
  • Yes, you may have some more cake.

Some authorities believe there is a difference between the two forms when they are used to express possibility, with may conveying possibility and might, unlikely possibility.

  • She may have been in the office when we telephoned, or she might have been in Tuktoyaktuk, for all I know.

It is important to note that may expresses possibility in the present; might must be used when the possibility of doing something existed only in the past:

  • Johnson may have survived; we are waiting for news.
    [There is a possibility that he survived; we don’t know yet.]
  • Johnson’s death last week might (not may) have been prevented if the ambulance had responded more rapidly.
    [There was a possibility in the past of preventing his death; but since he died, that possibility no longer exists.]

Might is sometimes preferred when you are asking for permission and more politeness or formality is required.

  • Might I ask a question, Sir?