English Grammar : Auxiliary Verb 'May'

Use of Auxiliary Verb 'May' in English Grammar

Uses of Auxiliary Verb "MAY"

"May" is a modal verb most commonly used to express possibility and wish. It can also be used to give or request permission."

'May' applies to situations that are possible or could be possible.

It is used to ask permission/approval, to make a request/refusal, to indicate possibility and to express wish.

Indicate Possibility:
We use 'may' to indicate possibility.
  • • It may rain today.
  • • I may go shopping tonight.
  • • She may be back in her office.
  • • She may be my advisor next semester.
  • • They may come on Sunday, but I'm not sure.
  • • Monika may be at home, or perhaps at work.
Give permission:
We use 'may' to give permission.
  • • You may go now.
  • • You may leave the class.
  • • You may begin the examination.
  • • You may take only one brochure.
  • • You may leave the table when you finish your dinner.
Request permission:
We use 'may' to request for permission.
  • May I come in?
  • May I use your bathroom?
  • May I borrow your pen?ve the bill?
  • May I make a phone call?
  • May I leave class early?
Suggestion / wishes:
We use 'may' for suggestion and express wish.
  • May I help you?
  • • You may want to read over your essay again.
  • • Students may not borrow equipment without permission.
  • May God bless you.
  • May his soul rest in peace!
  • May you both live a long and happy life together.
  • May the New Year bring you love and happiness.
  • May all your wishes come true.
  • May the odds be ever in your favor.
'May' is used in:
'May' is used in Simple present, Present continuous, Present perfect and Present perfect continuous tense.
  • (1) Simple present tense (may)
    • She may agree with me.
  • (2) Present continuous tense (may be)
  • • He may be elected President of the club.
  • (3) Present perfect tense (may have)
  • • She is late. I think she may have missed her plane.
  • (4) Present perfect continuous tense (may have been)
  • • What was that noise? It may have been a dog outside.
Types of Auxiliary Verbs
(1) Auxiliary–cum–verbs.

"Auxiliary-cum-verbs" are :

These 11 auxiliaries are also used as verbs, therefore, they are called Auxiliary–cum–verbs. These are used to form Tenses. ( Please refer Tense Table).

(2) Pure Auxiliary verbs..

These 20 auxiliaries only support normal verbs, therefore, they are called Pure Auxiliary Verbs. They are also called Models or Model Auxiliary Verbs.

Related Topics :
Types of Noun in English Language
Types of Pronoun in English Language
Types of Verb in English Language
Types of Adverb in English Language
Types of Adjective in English Language
Kinds of Preposition in English Language
Types of Conjunction in English Language
Uses of Interjection words in English Language


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