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Despite I use English in my work, I'm not a native English speaker. And I found myself writing the following sentence:

I thought it would might use an API.

After reading the phrase one more time, it sounded odd. The use of these two modal verbs combined seems wrong (or weird, at least). If that's the case, why is it wrong?

  • Believe it or not, in some regions of the US you can hear "might could" constructions: "I might could drink a beer with you if you have the time." – Robusto Aug 7 '18 at 22:27
  • the are some British dialects too, and it also exists in Scots, but not in any standard dialect. – James K Aug 8 '18 at 13:17
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It is wrong. Modal verbs, like can, might, would etc. are "defective", they have no participle (canning, mighting) and no infinitive ("to can", "to might")

A modal verb "would" is followed by the bare infinitive for example "be":

He would be happy, if he saw his family more often.

But might has no infinitive, so "it would might use..." is incorrect. You can search for "double modal" for further details on this.

You can use other ways of indicating the "might" modality. In this case the adverbs "possibly" or "perhaps" has a similar meaning.

I thought it would possibly use an API.

or just using "might" on its own is correct, with the same meaning as "would possibly"

I thought it might use an API.

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