May vs. might: Differences you may want to know

by Arushi Gupta
may vs might

In the realm of research, precision and accuracy in language are crucial. One area where researchers often encounter confusion is in choosing between “may” vs. “might.” These two small words may seem interchangeable, but understanding their nuances is vital for conveying the appropriate level of possibility and uncertainty in scientific writing.

Let’s explore the differences between “may” and “might” with some explanations and examples.c

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Difference between may and might

“May” and “might” both indicate possibility, but they differ in terms of strength. “May” suggests a higher degree of likelihood, while “might” implies a lower level of probability or a hypothetical scenario.

When to use may vs. might

Use “may” when expressing a higher possibility or when there is a greater chance of an event occurring. Consider these 3 cases while using ‘may’:

  • To describe a probable hypothesis
  • To take or give permission

Example: “The preliminary results of our study may indicate a strong correlation between X and Y.”


May I take the opportunity and present in the conference.”

Use “might” to suggest a lower possibility or when the outcome is uncertain or speculative. Consider these 3 cases while using ‘might’:

  • To describe unlikely hypothesis
  • To describe situations that did not occur

Example: “Further research is required to determine whether the proposed hypothesis might be applicable to a broader range of subjects.”

May vs. might examples

“Based on our initial observations, this novel treatment may significantly improve patient outcomes.”

“The data collected from this study might lead to a breakthrough in understanding the mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases.”

“The results of this experiment suggest that the new method may revolutionize the field of nanotechnology.”

“The limitations of our sample size mean that our findings might not be generalizable to the wider population.”

“This research project may contribute to the development of sustainable solutions for environmental challenges.”

As researchers, our choice of words carries immense weight, and understanding the distinction between “may” vs. “might” is essential for accurate and precise communication. So, may your writing be precise, and your findings mighty!

Wait, there’s more!

If this helped you, do not forget to read more such interesting comparisons:

Inter vs. intra

Idea vs. concept

Example vs. sample

Too vs. to

Few vs. a few

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