I've been searching about this for a long time, but the answer is not clear. Is there a difference between May, might and could? And, even further - Is there a difference when they are in a conditional sentence?

When I saw some posts on the internet, I just saw that the three are for possibilities. But, at school (and in some posts, too), I saw that may is different from might (might expresses a low possibility and may expresses a higher one). But , posts in which includes Could , there's no degree saying which shows a high possibility or a low one.

See these examples:

If I go to Brazil, I may eat Brazilians' food.

If I go to Brazil, I might eat Brazilians'food.

If I go to Brazil , I could eat Brazilians'food.

Is there any difference? Thanks in advance


1 Answer 1


I'll give you some probability percentages for how I would use words expressing different degrees of possibility. These are not rules. They vary significantly by person, by situation, and especially by tone of voice. I am thinking here of these replacing the bolded words in your example sentence.

  • will: 100%
  • probably will: 90% - 100%
  • might: 20% - 80%
  • may: 10% - 50% (less likely than might for me since I don't use may very often, so I would stress it)
  • could / can: greater than 0% (this deals more with ability than likelihood)

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