Author Topic: Word usage: may  (Read 2976 times)  

Offline SerenityEditing

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 491
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • Serenity Editing Services
Re: Word usage: may
« Reply #25 on: October 07, 2017, 09:07:01 am »
It's a good example of how commas can aid understanding:-

"Time, flies like an arrow, but fruit, flies like a banana."
vs
"Time, flies like an arrow, but fruit flies, like a banana."

Mm. The only way that would aid understanding for me is if it was prefaced by the instructions "This is how you would articulate the rests in that sentence." And if I were to explain it to someone else, I'd use "Time [flies (like an arrow)] but [fruit flies] like [a banana]."

I think mainly for me it's because the last bit of the phrase isn't used as commonly in American English. We'd say "fruit flies like bananas." (Though to be fair I'm not sure I'd have gotten it that way either!)
Serenity Editing Services - KBoards Yellow Pages

FREE Sample - Top-Notch Editing and Proofreading Services
serenityeditingservices.com/

KBoards.com

  • Advertisement
  • ***

    Offline Wysardry

    • Status: Lewis Carroll
    • **
    • Posts: 155
      • View Profile
    Re: Word usage: may
    « Reply #26 on: October 07, 2017, 09:22:04 am »
    Well, misused commas, anyway. The first statement is composed of nested interrogatives. You could, however, build it with question marks (and if you're really a baller, semicolons).
    The sentence isn't a question, it is two related statements. In British English, the way I used commas is valid as they are used to show where you would pause if the sentence was spoken.

    For example, my Oxford Style Manual contains the following sentences:-

    Identical twins, who are always of the same sex, arise in a different way.
    Julie, my friend, is absolutely gorgeous.

    Offline Joseph Malik

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
    • ****
    • Posts: 657
    • Gender: Male
    • Pacific Northwest
      • View Profile
      • Writing and Fighting with Joseph Malik:
    Re: Word usage: may
    « Reply #27 on: October 07, 2017, 09:28:06 am »
    The sentence isn't a question, it is two related statements. In British English, the way I used commas is valid as they are used to show where you would pause if the sentence was spoken.

    For example, my Oxford Style Manual contains the following sentences:-

    Identical twins, who are always of the same sex, arise in a different way.
    Julie, my friend, is absolutely gorgeous.

    Those examples aren't caesurae; they're mechanically required. The first is a dependent clause, and the second is an appositive. The pause is not due to stylistic affectation, but because the sentence requires a comma at that point.

    EDIT: Actually, the second sentence could be construed as a caesura if the speaker were speaking to a  friend and addressing them as "my friend." Fair point.
    « Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 09:32:01 am by Joseph Malik »

    Joseph Malik | Website | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | FB | Pinterest

    Offline My Dog's Servant

    • Status: Scheherazade
    • *****
    • Posts: 1018
    • Gender: Female
      • View Profile
    Re: Word usage: may
    « Reply #28 on: October 07, 2017, 10:08:17 am »
    They're modal verbs, so they're often used interchangeably, but outside of informal English, they shouldn't be. They're actually quite different words. Might is the past tense of may.

    Further, may is used to express what is actual, or possible:

    I may have salmon for lunch.
    We may end up testifying before Congress before this is over.
    I may have a drinking problem.

    Might is used to express concepts that are remotely possible, hyperbolic, contrarian, or even hypothetical. Might carries far less probabilistic and estimative weight than may.

    If you sneeze really hard, you might blow your tonsils out.
    If I hadn't hit on my boss's wife at the office party, I might be VP of sales by now.
    If Billy connects with Mike's fastball, he might launch it into orbit.

    Because of the estimative and determinative differential between these two words, may have is generally considered to be improper usage; which is why it comes off as a "weasel word." ("My client may have done that; however . . .") In past tense, might have is the only proper construction. Of course, you can play with this all you want; characters will misuse it in dialogue, and you can even goof around with it to imply subtle shifts of meaning. It's just words. Have fun with it.


    SOOOOOOOOOOO much this!  I'm really tired of seeing "may" used as the past tense of itself when the proper word is "might."  The error crops up regularly even in NY-published books. Drives me nuts.

    Offline Goulburn

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
    • ****
    • Posts: 871
      • View Profile
    Re: Word usage: may
    « Reply #29 on: October 07, 2017, 12:31:00 pm »
    American English uses "may" and "might" interchangeably. British English doesn't seem to. Americans would say, "I might go." An Aussie or whatever would say, "I may go." Kind of like got and gotten except British English doesn't use gotten at all. Interesting difference.

    This.
    I'm Australian and see a huge difference between can and may. This is how it was taught to me.

    May do something = having permission to do something.
    Can do something = being able to do it with or without permission.

    You might ask a parent, "May I eat ice-cream?"
    You would not ask, "Can I eat ice-cream?"

    Unless you have a physical impediment that prevents it, or there is no ice-cream, you can eat it, but you may not have permission to eat it.   


    It seems most of us Aussies 'might' be thinking alike on this issue.
    I think that might or may would be interchangeable in that sentence-but I'm no expert. I've often done what I can do and not what I may do.  ;)
    « Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 12:36:20 pm by Ryn Shell »
    I do not consent to the Sept 2018 TOS change that was made without asking my consent or even offering notification.  If VerticalScope republishes content I own I will sue them for breach of copyright.

    Offline V Gilbert

    • Status: Dr. Seuss
    • *
    • Posts: 18
      • View Profile
    Re: Word usage: may
    « Reply #30 on: October 07, 2017, 02:33:48 pm »
    Great info. The may/might thing has been bothering me lately, but I never thought to look into it. Instead I mixed the words 50/50, hoping I'd be right at least some of the time.

    V Gilbert

    Offline Gone 9/21/18

    • Status: Dostoevsky
    • ******
    • Posts: 3897
      • View Profile
    Re: Word usage: may
    « Reply #31 on: October 07, 2017, 06:59:32 pm »
    I think my changing of "may" to "might" is probably one of the biggest pet peeves for many of my clients. * * * I see the change rejected and "may" restored so often that I've often wondered if it's a shift in language that I just haven't noticed, or just a personal preference.

    This is my personal pet peeve where "may" is concerned. In book after book, including those from traditional pubs that are surely edited several times, I see the present tense may used where the past tense might should be used. I've decided it's like the modern tendency to avoid the use of "me" at all costs, substituting "myself" and "I" for it when those substitutions are wrong, wrong, wrong. I'm not sure if I dislike it more or less than "The sun shined." They all have the fingernail on chalkboard effect on me.
    I did not and will not consent to VerticalScope's TOS.

    Offline Pandorra

    • Status: Scheherazade
    • *****
    • Posts: 1171
      • View Profile
      • Authors in Motion
    Re: Word usage: may
    « Reply #32 on: October 10, 2017, 12:57:25 am »
    This is my personal pet peeve where "may" is concerned. In book after book, including those from traditional pubs that are surely edited several times, I see the present tense may used where the past tense might should be used. I've decided it's like the modern tendency to avoid the use of "me" at all costs, substituting "myself" and "I" for it when those substitutions are wrong, wrong, wrong. I'm not sure if I dislike it more or less than "The sun shined." They all have the fingernail on chalkboard effect on me.


    Its still better then Trad dropping the Z from everything.. which kills me every time!

    Dean Rencraft | Authors in Motion

    Offline Sarah Shaw

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
    • ****
    • Posts: 760
    • Gender: Female
    • Prague
      • View Profile
    Re: Word usage: may
    « Reply #33 on: October 10, 2017, 01:50:02 am »
    This is my personal pet peeve where "may" is concerned. In book after book, including those from traditional pubs that are surely edited several times, I see the present tense may used where the past tense might should be used. I've decided it's like the modern tendency to avoid the use of "me" at all costs, substituting "myself" and "I" for it when those substitutions are wrong, wrong, wrong. I'm not sure if I dislike it more or less than "The sun shined." They all have the fingernail on chalkboard effect on me.

    Yes! Particularly infuriating when it's historical romance - as it so often seems to be. Seems a lot of writers think the way to make historical speech sound 'authentic' is to substitute 'shall' for 'will' everywhere and 'may' for 'might'.

    *Adds a guilty reminder to self to double check on correct usage of 'shall' before hitting publish button.

    Offline Pandorra

    • Status: Scheherazade
    • *****
    • Posts: 1171
      • View Profile
      • Authors in Motion
    Re: Word usage: may
    « Reply #34 on: October 10, 2017, 02:01:18 am »
    Yes! Particularly infuriating when it's historical romance - as it so often seems to be. Seems a lot of writers think the way to make historical speech sound 'authentic' is to substitute 'shall' for 'will' everywhere and 'may' for 'might'.

    *Adds a guilty reminder to self to double check on correct usage of 'shall' before hitting publish button.


    I refuse to check until I have slept lol.. I will repeat this mantra until the PC is off and I am safely in bed...

    Dean Rencraft | Authors in Motion

    Online Jena H

    • Status: Emily Dickinson
    • *******
    • Posts: 8052
    • North Carolina
    • Desperate character
      • View Profile
    Re: Word usage: may
    « Reply #35 on: October 10, 2017, 05:13:25 am »
    This is my personal pet peeve where "may" is concerned. In book after book, including those from traditional pubs that are surely edited several times, I see the present tense may used where the past tense might should be used. I've decided it's like the modern tendency to avoid the use of "me" at all costs, substituting "myself" and "I" for it when those substitutions are wrong, wrong, wrong. I'm not sure if I dislike it more or less than "The sun shined." They all have the fingernail on chalkboard effect on me.

    It's early for me here and I'm still a bit sleepy, but at the moment I can't think how might is considered the past tense.  (Unless when it's paired with have, in might have.)  Do you have any examples of might indicating past tense?
    Jena

    Offline Skip Knox

    • Status: Lewis Carroll
    • **
    • Posts: 184
    • Gender: Male
    • Kuna, Idaho
      • View Profile
      • Altearth
    Re: Word usage: may
    « Reply #36 on: October 10, 2017, 07:00:44 am »
    Mm. The only way that would aid understanding for me is if it was prefaced by the instructions "This is how you would articulate the rests in that sentence." And if I were to explain it to someone else, I'd use "Time [flies (like an arrow)] but [fruit flies] like [a banana]."

    I think mainly for me it's because the last bit of the phrase isn't used as commonly in American English. We'd say "fruit flies like bananas." (Though to be fair I'm not sure I'd have gotten it that way either!)


    Deliciously arcane. Next thing you know, we'll be shooting elephants in our pajamas.

    Offline WHDean

    • Status: Arthur C Clarke
    • *****
    • Posts: 2243
    • Gender: Male
    • Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
      • View Profile
    Re: Word usage: may
    « Reply #37 on: October 10, 2017, 08:10:21 am »
    There are some ignorant editors out there. I went around a few times with my editor -- who is not remotely ignorant; I love working with her -- over the capitalization of King, Princess, Kingdom, etc. She knew that they shouldn't be capitalized, and I knew that they shouldn't be capitalized (unless part of a title, of course; you would write "Princess Buttercup," but not "the Princess's dress," for instance), but so many authors writing fantasy these days jack up their capitalization that there's now an expectation in the genre that it be done incorrectly, which is idiotic.

    This is an important point about usage. You shouldn't adapt to what you perceive as a change in usage because you can't assume to have read a representative example of the genre or that it wasn't an unintentional mistake. And such conclusions are affected by recall bias (i.e., we tend to remember the last thing we read better than anything before). Nor can you assume that readers have changed their expectations. Most will not have noticed, and the few that have noticed might well have perceived it as a mistake. It's not as though there's perfect information in these cases because there's no consistent and reliable feedback mechanism.

     

    Offline Sarah Shaw

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
    • ****
    • Posts: 760
    • Gender: Female
    • Prague
      • View Profile
    Re: Word usage: may
    « Reply #38 on: October 10, 2017, 09:11:08 am »
    Quote from: Jena
    It's early for me here and I'm still a bit sleepy, but at the moment I can't think how might is considered the past tense.  (Unless when it's paired with have, in might have.)  Do you have any examples of might indicating past tense?

    SerenityEditing gave some great answers to that below. The second and third, in particular, are things I see all the time in historical romance that absolutely send me around the bend. It's one reason I've gotten so I don't want to read free or low cost indie historicals any more. (Yes, some of the trads have started doing this, too, but I'm less likely to see it. And if I ever DO find it in a book I've paid over $4.99 for I GUARANTEE I'm sending that sucker back!)

    I think my changing of "may" to "might" is probably one of the biggest pet peeves for many of my clients. But lately I see a lot of people using it in phrases like "If we may die doing this, shouldn't we have some fun first?" or "He couldn't say how he knew what to do; he thought it may just come naturally" or "He couldn't guess where she may go so he chose a direction at random." I see the change rejected and "may" restored so often that I've often wondered if it's a shift in language that I just haven't noticed, or just a personal preference.

    So, just to be perfectly clear, in the examples given it's "He couldn't say how he knew what to do; he thought it might just come naturally.
    "He couldn't guess where she might go so he chose a direction at random. May=present tense, might=past tense.

    Offline Gone 9/21/18

    • Status: Dostoevsky
    • ******
    • Posts: 3897
      • View Profile
    Re: Word usage: may
    « Reply #39 on: October 10, 2017, 12:39:08 pm »
    Every dictionary I checked says might is the past tense of may. However, most also mention modern informal usage increasingly uses may for both present and past, which IMO is like "the sun shined," "me and Joe went to the store," "Jane gave Don and I presents," oh, no, whoops, "she gave Don and myself presents." There, that's better, isn't it? All of them are increasingly used and are signs of...nevermind.

    As for examples: "Garn waited, staring at the small heap on the ground he might not have noticed without seeing and hearing the whole ruction."

    "Her stomach reacted to the scent of food with a loud growl just as the thumps that might have covered the sound stopped."

    IMO where may as past tense is particularly jarring is in third person past tense stories where you go along with everything in past tense and then all of a sudden may pops up, often in a compound sentence where the other clause has a past tense verb, and there's may all but waving and jumping up and down saying, "Here I am, present tense, nyaah nyaah."
    I did not and will not consent to VerticalScope's TOS.

    Offline Sarah Shaw

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
    • ****
    • Posts: 760
    • Gender: Female
    • Prague
      • View Profile
    Re: Word usage: may
    « Reply #40 on: October 10, 2017, 01:00:44 pm »
    Every dictionary I checked says might is the past tense of may. However, most also mention modern informal usage increasingly uses may for both present and past, which IMO is like "the sun shined," "me and Joe went to the store," "Jane gave Don and I presents," oh, no, whoops, "she gave Don and myself presents." There, that's better, isn't it? All of them are increasingly used and are signs of...nevermind.

    As for examples: "Garn waited, staring at the small heap on the ground he might not have noticed without seeing and hearing the whole ruction."

    "Her stomach reacted to the scent of food with a loud growl just as the thumps that might have covered the sound stopped."

    IMO where may as past tense is particularly jarring is in third person past tense stories where you go along with everything in past tense and then all of a sudden may pops up, often in a compound sentence where the other clause has a past tense verb, and there's may all but waving and jumping up and down saying, "Here I am, present tense, nyaah nyaah."

    Yeah. Jerks me right out of the story and then, at a minimum I have to stomp around, mutter about the decline and fall of the civilized world and generally fume for awhile before I can even begin to decide if I want to go back to it. :D Your other examples bother me too, but I haven't seen them nearly as often or as consistently as the 'may' misusage.

    Online Jena H

    • Status: Emily Dickinson
    • *******
    • Posts: 8052
    • North Carolina
    • Desperate character
      • View Profile
    Re: Word usage: may
    « Reply #41 on: October 10, 2017, 01:16:37 pm »
    Every dictionary I checked says might is the past tense of may. However, most also mention modern informal usage increasingly uses may for both present and past, which IMO is like "the sun shined," "me and Joe went to the store," "Jane gave Don and I presents," oh, no, whoops, "she gave Don and myself presents." There, that's better, isn't it? All of them are increasingly used and are signs of...nevermind.

    As for examples: "Garn waited, staring at the small heap on the ground he might not have noticed without seeing and hearing the whole ruction."

    "Her stomach reacted to the scent of food with a loud growl just as the thumps that might have covered the sound stopped."

    IMO where may as past tense is particularly jarring is in third person past tense stories where you go along with everything in past tense and then all of a sudden may pops up, often in a compound sentence where the other clause has a past tense verb, and there's may all but waving and jumping up and down saying, "Here I am, present tense, nyaah nyaah."

    So might is simple past tense of may, but only when paired with have, as in might have.  Yes, I see that might can be considered past tense of may.
    Jena

    Offline Sarah Shaw

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
    • ****
    • Posts: 760
    • Gender: Female
    • Prague
      • View Profile
    Re: Word usage: may
    « Reply #42 on: October 10, 2017, 01:34:37 pm »
    So might is simple past tense of may, but only when paired with have, as in might have.  Yes, I see that might can be considered past tense of may.

    No. Might is the past tense, period. Whether 'have' is also in the sentence depends on whether its appropriate to the sentence or not.

    Again the examples from SerenityEditing:

    So, just to be perfectly clear, in the examples given it's "He couldn't say how he knew what to do; he thought it might just come naturally.
    "He couldn't guess where she might go so he chose a direction at random." May=present tense, might=past tense.

    Offline Paranormal Kitty

    • Status: Scheherazade
    • *****
    • Posts: 1758
    • Gender: Female
      • View Profile
    Re: Word usage: may
    « Reply #43 on: October 10, 2017, 01:50:13 pm »
    This is what Oxford has to say about it: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/usage/may-or-might

    Quote
    Some people insist that you should use may (present tense) when talking about a current situation and might (past tense) when talking about an event that happened in the past. For example:

    I may go home early if I'm tired. (present tense)
    He might have visited Italy before settling in Nuremberg. (past tense)


    In practice, this distinction is rarely made today and the two words are generally interchangeable:

    I might go home early if I'm tired.
    He may have visited Italy before settling in Nuremberg.


    But there is a distinction between may have and might have in certain contexts. If the truth of a situation is still not known at the time of speaking or writing, either of the two is acceptable:

    By the time you read this, he may have made his decision.
    I think that comment might have offended some people.


    If the event or situation referred to did not in fact occur, it's better to use might have:

    The draw against Italy might have been a turning point, but it didn't turn out like that.

    You probably shouldn't knock people down for something that's considered acceptable usage.

    Offline Sarah Shaw

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
    • ****
    • Posts: 760
    • Gender: Female
    • Prague
      • View Profile
    Re: Word usage: may
    « Reply #44 on: October 10, 2017, 02:14:08 pm »
    You probably shouldn't knock people down for something that's considered acceptable usage.

    Two points: a) It wasn't considered acceptable usage when many of us were younger. If you want to limit your audience to young people, totally your prerogative. But be aware that you may be losing some of your potential readers unnecessarily.
    b) If you're writing historical fiction a LOT of people will be bothered by characters speaking in the very most modern of modern English. To the point (like me) of not finishing your book and never considering anything by you in the future.

    I don't consider it 'knocking people down' to tell authors about problems that will totally take me (and many other readers) out of a story and make it all but impossible to get back in again. But if you'd rather NOT know what bothers people grammatically maybe you should avoid reading grammar threads.


    Offline Paranormal Kitty

    • Status: Scheherazade
    • *****
    • Posts: 1758
    • Gender: Female
      • View Profile
    Re: Word usage: may
    « Reply #45 on: October 10, 2017, 03:05:40 pm »
    Two points: a) It wasn't considered acceptable usage when many of us were younger. If you want to limit your audience to young people, totally your prerogative. But be aware that you may be losing some of your potential readers unnecessarily.
    b) If you're writing historical fiction a LOT of people will be bothered by characters speaking in the very most modern of modern English. To the point (like me) of not finishing your book and never considering anything by you in the future.

    I don't consider it 'knocking people down' to tell authors about problems that will totally take me (and many other readers) out of a story and make it all but impossible to get back in again. But if you'd rather NOT know what bothers people grammatically maybe you should avoid reading grammar threads.

    I can understand the argument for historical fiction if you're trying to use the language the way it was at that time (although not all historicals are even set in English-speaking locations). But it's kind of silly to say that if we don't use the language the same as it was 40 years ago, that only younger people will read it. If people didn't learn anything new, there wouldn't be anyone over 40 on the internet. It's okay to have your opinion, or to point it out as an editor, but to say it's incorrect usage is...incorrect. Especially if you're going to act like the person is an idiot and not worth reading over something so trivial. It's like saying you won't read so-and-so because they use/don't use the Oxford comma.

    Offline JRTomlin

    • Status: Agatha Christie
    • *********
    • Posts: 16323
    • Gender: Female
    • Leaving the forum
      • View Profile
    Re: Word usage: may
    « Reply #46 on: October 10, 2017, 04:28:22 pm »
    I do not accept the Terms of Service which were instituted without notification. I do not consent to VerticalScope reproducing content I posted on this forum in any newsletter, website, or another forum. I've requested account deletion; however, the owners of this forum REFUSE to delete my content. Further, I repudiate any association with ads that are sexist, racist, and demeaning to women which are now appearing on this site.
    « Last Edit: October 12, 2018, 10:40:53 am by JRTomlin »
    I do not accept the Terms of Service which were instituted without notification. I do not consent to VerticalScope reproducing content I posted on this forum in any newsletter, website, or another forum. I've requested account deletion; however, the owners of this forum REFUSE to delete my content. Further, I repudiate any association with ads that are sexist, racist, and demeaning to women which are now appearing on this site.

    Offline Matt.Banks

    • Status: Lewis Carroll
    • **
    • Posts: 157
      • View Profile
    Re: Word usage: may
    « Reply #47 on: October 10, 2017, 10:57:25 pm »
    Yes, may is for permission and can is for ability but using can is very popular in informal language. I have many years experience in customer service and hospitality industry, and I would say an overwhelming majority of people use can, "Can I have this/or that", I hear it so often I don't even think twice about it. I don't think most people notice it either, even if they know there's a difference, in informal usage I don't think there's much of a distinction.

    Offline WHDean

    • Status: Arthur C Clarke
    • *****
    • Posts: 2243
    • Gender: Male
    • Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
      • View Profile
    Re: Word usage: may
    « Reply #48 on: October 11, 2017, 12:47:41 pm »
    I think my changing of "may" to "might" is probably one of the biggest pet peeves for many of my clients. But lately I see a lot of people using it in phrases like "If we may die doing this, shouldn't we have some fun first?" or "He couldn't say how he knew what to do; he thought it may just come naturally" or "He couldn't guess where she may go so he chose a direction at random." I see the change rejected and "may" restored so often that I've often wondered if it's a shift in language that I just haven't noticed, or just a personal preference.

    I see these sorts of sentences now and again. I've taken to calling them pseudo-syntax problems because they're really semantic, logical, usage, or economy problems that lead people to think there's a grammar problem.

    Quote
    If we may die doing this, shouldn't we have some fun first?


    Idioms create expectations. The expression if we may/if I may is an idiom used to interject in a conversation (e.g., If I may be so bold as to...) or to introduce an assumption or premise (e.g., If we may assume that...). When neither of these expectations is met, we're distracted by the feeling that something went wrong grammatically: "Doesnt he mean might or could?" And the answer is that it doesn't matter whether may is Standard English because the idiom is too familiar to the reader and one should always avoid conjuring it up only to break the expectation it creates. Go with could or might die or even going to die instead.

    Quote
    He couldn't say how he knew what to do; he thought it may just come naturally.

    Economy of expression solves so many problems. Does the degree of certainty (= may versus might) he attributed to the hypothesis that his knowing what to do came naturally matter to anyone? Come to that, do you need to write that he thought about it at all when the context is him thinking about how he knew what to do? I venture to say the answer is no on both counts. Hence, ...it just came naturally or omit the thought altogether. 

    Quote
    He couldn't guess where she may go, so he chose a direction at random.


    There is a grammatical problem here: may go implies present time and the rest of the sentence is past tense, so she would go, she might have gone, or simply she went. But the problem driving it all, as in the first case, is a familiar idiom being put to an unfamiliar use. The figurative expression I couldn't guess/couldn't even guess is used to express complete ignorance about something. "Who's gonna win the cup this year? I couldn't even guess." But this figurative expression makes no literal sense. Short of brain injury of some kind, anyone can guess, making it an awkward description of someone's thoughts. In fact, the main clause suggests he did guess when he chose a direction. The solution is to use the expressions that fits; e.g., he had no idea where she went, he didn't know which way she would go, etc.

    Note one other thing. All these examples contain more than one modal verb (or a modality like guessing) and negation in a conditional sentence, a formula that often creates logical problems because of the asymmetry between positive and negative statements involving probabilities and possibilities. So these stacked modals (could, may) and modalities (guessing) combined with negation should always make you double-check the logic of the statement. And the best first choice for a fix should be removing one of the modals.



    KBoards.com

    • Advertisement
    • ***