I have learnt and it was even mentioned in one of the threads that when we want to say that something was possible but didn't happen either "might" or "could" can be used not "can" or "may" but in this test both "might" and "could" are given as options.

"I ___been hit by a car, but luckily I just managed to get out of the way." The options are "can have", "might have", "may have", "could have". Why are there two possible answers in the test or is it a mistake? Is there a difference in meaning between "might have " and "could have"?

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    You said in your first paragraph "Either might or could can be used"! Nov 2, 2021 at 9:03
  • @Kate Bunting, that's what I have learnt. But later I found out that some native speakers think there is a difference. Do you use them interchangeably? Nov 3, 2021 at 10:37
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    In this context, I don't see any difference. Nov 3, 2021 at 13:22

1 Answer 1


In some situations using "could" rather than "might" emphasises the ability or the physical possibility rather than the occurrence. In your example though there is no real difference between them, because the risk to you is the same whether you talk about a physical possibility or a possible occurrence.

  • what do you mean by "the occurrence"? The word is familiar to me but the difference isn't clear :( Nov 3, 2021 at 10:37
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    I was using occurrence to mean whether the event happened. It could be because of a decision, eg "If the bar opens I could get a drink" - I would be able to do it. "If the bar opens I might get a drink" - it is an option and I am thinking about it. It could be because of random factors eg "I could kick a goal from there if I tried" says I am able to do it, but "I might kick a goal from there if I tried" says I have a chance of success. As I said in the answer there is often no practical difference between could and might in statements of this type.
    – Peter
    Nov 4, 2021 at 12:46
  • thank you. When talking about a similar situation "That could be your sister" and "that might/may be your suster" isn't the same difference expressed? With "could" it's not impossible that it's your sister while with "may/might'" there is a chance that it's your sister. Nov 4, 2021 at 12:56
  • And is there any difference between them in terms of degrees of possibility? Nov 4, 2021 at 12:58
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    I don't think there is a difference between could and might in terms of degree of probability. With "That could be your sister" the speaker is sometimes saying the person looks very similar, but knows that it is actually impossible.
    – Peter
    Nov 4, 2021 at 13:04

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