Date: Mon, 29 Apr 1996 22:51:07 EDT


Subject: I wish I may, I wish I might (revisited)

No, I'm not revisiting myself. but I thought the participants in our earlier

discussion might (and indeed MAY) be interested to know that it's the topic of

this week's Safire "On Language" column, under the header "May Day! Might

Day!" What set him off was a comment by Mortimer Zuckerman, editor in chief

of the U.S. News & World Report, that a certain Whitewater report "may well

have been written in invisible ink for all the attention it has had." In the

process of casting his semantic nets thither and yon for awhile, Safire refers

to Zuckerman's "misuse of MAY", which should have been "MIGHT". I suppose

it's just the prescriptivist version of the split we observed, with Safire

(like most of us) among the old fogeys and Zuckerman (although he presumably

can't use age as an excuse) among the innovators.