Tell me please which word I should use in the following context.

The man is trying hard to change the country for the better. May/let he succeed!

What I want to convey by the word are a wish or hope. Does those have identical meanings in that, if not, then what is the difference?

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    Follow "let" with an object pronoun: me, you, him, her, us, you, them. May he.. is the one you want. Let him.. isn't a goodwill wish. – Matt Jan 1 '19 at 17:04

Either is possible, but their grammar is different.

May he succeed.


Let him succeed.

May is a modal, and takes a verb (in the base form), not a clause. This is an inversion of He may succeed, used for wishes. Other than with may, the syntax is now obsolete except for a few set expressions like Long live X!

Let is not a modal, but a verb which takes an infinitive clause. It normally has as a subject the agency allowing the action, so Let him succeed is syntactically a command, and could be said to somebody who has the power to hinder the success. But it is also used in a more general way, and I think is now more common than the "may" construction for that purpose.

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    I'd say both versions are a bit "stilted, formal" (in normal conversational contexts, most people today would say I hope he succeeds), but I think you're right that the may version is more "dated, poetic" than let. I can just about imagine a teenager saying Let it be me! (to himself / his god) when eagerly hoping to be chosen for something, but May it be me! is just a bit too "Victorian". – FumbleFingers Jan 1 '19 at 17:28

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