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She looks like she might make a competent nurse.

What's the meaning of "might" here? Does it have a certain meaning or it just plays a grammatical role?

The fuller text is here:

The writer herself is rather austere looking. Dark hair pulled back from her face in a tight ponytail. Strong bones. No-nonsense skirt and sweater, equally no-nonsense eyeglasses. She looks like she might make a competent nurse. The only flourish is a pretty scarf around her neck. Not unattractive but getting on. Maybe pushing forty.

closed as off-topic by Tetsujin, Nathan Tuggy, ColleenV Aug 12 '18 at 10:34

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    This is definition 1 in any dictionary lookup. – Tetsujin Aug 11 '18 at 11:25
  • @Tetsujin I don't understand the meaning of the sentence "She looks like she might make(may) a competent nurse" could you please explain it to me? – Peace Aug 11 '18 at 11:35
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"Might make a competent nurse" means that the narrator believes that she might be able to competently fulfill the duties associated with the role of a nurse, but they're not completely sure. In general, "might make for an [adjective] [position]" is an idiom that means that the speaker believes that the person in question will fulfill the role of [position] in an [adjective] fashion, e.g. "might make for a below-par programmer" means that the speaker believes that the person in question will program in a below-par fashion.

  • And could you explain please, what the relathionship between this and the previous sentences is? – Peace Aug 11 '18 at 13:27
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    The narrator is judging the person's competency based upon their appearance. – nick012000 Aug 11 '18 at 13:31
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Normally might is used in situations where there is possibility in the absence of impediments. There is no reason to think it couldn't be true or couldn't happen.

The hammer might be out in the tool shed. Or it might be on the workbench in the basement.

I find the phrase might make in the passage you quoted a tad strange. I'd expect might be, or perhaps would make, but even that is odd. The look referred to is the look of a stereotypical no-nonsense nurse, not the look of someone who could become a no-nonsense nurse.

The phrase "might make" refers to the potential to be something:

He's got great speed and technical skills. He might make a fine striker.

  • Your answer is reasonable. But could you please tell me what the relationship between this sentence(She looks like she might ...) and the previous sentences is? – Peace Aug 11 '18 at 20:59
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    The answer to your question is found in my answer. "The look referred to is the look of a stereotypical no-nonsense nurse". The emphasis is on competence, not "bedside manner". – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 11 '18 at 21:04
  • And no-nonsense eyeglasses? What does it mean? Is it in use? – Peace Aug 11 '18 at 21:22
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    no-nonsense can be paraphrased as "emphasis on functionality not style". These glasses do not have "designer frames". They are "utilitarian". – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 11 '18 at 22:31

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