Might you ever have had read that book?

Can you use something like this, in English?

  • 3
    might have had read is impossible: what you want is merely might have read (the tensed modal might takes a following infinitive, that infinitive perfect have takes a following past participle read). May 11, 2016 at 21:45
  • I see. I thank you, StoneyB. Why may might, I guess, passed of may, maybe, utilize an infinitive, and not a passed, like had(?), too? And, may, I guess might [you] [ever] have read [that book] [?] mean they may, or may not, have read it, if they have, they still might? What if they, maybe, have read some, and may not read it, now? May have not mean they still do?
    – saySay
    May 11, 2016 at 22:21
  • Modal verbs (can/could,may/might,must,shall/should,will/would) always take an infinitive complement. The distinctions between 'past' and 'present' forms of the modal verbs are very complicated and unpredictable; over the past three centuries they have been slowly evolving into essentially distinct words, but except with must (which is historically the past form of the now vanished mote) the evolution is not yet complete. May 12, 2016 at 2:05
  • I greatly appreciate it, StoneyB. So, I thought might seemed passed, of may. I think, I read it used like this, "1) MAY / MIGHT Present: When he is at school, he may not go to the bathroom without asking for permission. Past: When he was at school, he might not go to the bathroom without asking for permission.” It seemed to use one passed, and one not. So, I guess, I, maybe, may not get why might may, I think you stated, utilize have. May that (have) assume, in this interrogative, that they maybe did, and still do, read that book?
    – saySay
    May 21, 2016 at 2:26
  • Might is indeed the past form of may; but it doesn't always indicate past tense. It may indicate 'modal remoteness' (nonfactuality) or 'social remoteness' (politeness, non-demand), which I think is the case in your example. When it is used in one of these senses the perfect construction (have + past participle) is employed to mark past tense. May 21, 2016 at 11:03

1 Answer 1


Might you ever have read is OK. It's asking if they already read it in the past (NOT still reading it). Might you ever had read and Might you ever have had read are both ungrammatical. If you need to know if they were in the process of still reading it, you could ask: "Might you have been reading that book when you fell asleep?" Or: "Might you ever have been reading that book when you would fall asleep?"

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .