Category: Legal Writing Hints
May or Might? Which is correct and when?
N.B. To read the complete answer on the blog, go to the Home Page at the bottom left and click on the same question.
A very common grammatical error is the misuse of “may and might”. Today in colloquial (casual) English, “might” is used for both. But that is not grammatically correct. A little grammatical background is in order.
Both ‘may and might” only express action or actions that are “possible”, but not “definite”, e.g., I think I may go to the movies this afternoon (not definite, but only “possible” action). I thought I might go to the movies last night (not definite, but only “possible” action on the day before).
“May and might” can only state possible action, and “possible action” in grammar is called the “Subjunctive Mood”. Wow. That’ll scare you!
On the other hand, to express “definite action”, is called the …
What does the Latin abbreviation “et al.” mean?
Et al. is the abbreviation for several Latin words, depending upon what the writer intends it to say:
Et alii means the writer wants to say “and others (people).”
Et alia means the writer wants to say “and other things.”
Inter alios means the writer wants to say “among others (people).”
Inter alia means the writer wants to say “among other things.”
N.B. All Latin forms and meanings are abbreviated in the same way, viz., “et al.”.