Date: Tue, 19 Mar 1996 11:13:21 -0500 From: Ronald Butters Subject: may/might distinction Thanks for your comment on my question about the may/might distinction. Of course, asking about whether or not your lack of a distinction was "dialect" or "solecism" was a bit of a joke--the lack of a distinction seems to be widespread among educated speakers in the English-speaking world. I have collected over the past twenty years numerous print examples from well-educated people of sentences like, "If he didn't have to run against Anderson as well as Nixon, Hubert Humphrey may have been elected president of the United States." Despite my years of sensitivity training as a linguist who knows that "barbaric" is not an appropriate term to use to characterize linguistic change in progress, and not withstanding my realization that all sorts of supereducated folks make no may/might distinction, such sentences still strike me as ludicrous and solecistic. I'm wondering if there is anyone else left on the planet (or at least on this mailing list) who shares my linguistic prejudice--or even understands the semantic difference between MAY and MIGHT in the example given above.