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How to Modal Verbs - May Might Must for English

Updated: Jan 10, 2022

Brief overview of the Modal Verbs-May /Might / Must

The modal verbs are used to say how sure we are about something. Here we are going to discuss the Modal Verbs- May / Might / Must

-We use ‘must’ when we feel sure that something is true because there’s very strong evidence.


  • You must be freezing in this weather, have a cup of coffee

-We use ‘might’ and ‘may’ to say that we think something is possible but we’re not sure.


  • We may arrive late if there’s a lot of traffic

  • I think there might be rain today.

All grammar rules for Modal Verbs- May /Might / Must

-The modal verbs May /might/ must are used differently in active and passive voices

e.g.: May

  • Active: She may eat a banana

  • Passive: A banana may be eaten by her

e.g.: Might

  • Active: He might harm the animal

  • Passive: The animal must be harmed by him

e.g.: Must

  • Active: He must learn the lesson

  • Passive: The lesson must be learned by him

Sentence patterns for Modal Verbs- May /Might / Must

Positive Sentences

Subject + Auxiliary (May /Might / Must) + main verb

  • e.g.: I may/might/ must like the book

Negative Sentences

Subject + Auxiliary (May /Might / Must) + Not + main verb

  • e.g.: She may/might/ must not go today

Interrogative Sentences

Auxiliary (May /Might / Must) + Subject +Main verb

  • e.g.: May /Might he learn the lesson?

Use of ‘May’

1. It is used to ask for formal permission


  • May I come in, please?

  • May I say something now?

2. It is used to suggest something that is possible


  • She may not be happy about the results

  • It may rain today

Use of ‘Might’ (past form of ‘May’)

  1. It is used to suggest a smaller possibility than may does


  • He might not come to the class today

  • She might have lost the game

Uses of ‘Must’

1. It is used to express something formally required or necessary


  • Every building must have a fire alarm.

  • You must answer all the questions

2. It is used to show that something is very likely


  • There is lot of traffic, there must be an accident

  • He must be a genius.

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