Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Modal verbs for expressing past probability (deduction)

May / might / could have: expressing past probability
Structure: modal + have + past participle
may have been, could have gone, might have lost, etc.
We use may havecould have,might have to say that it was possible that something happened in the past (but we are not 100% sure).He may have missed the bus.
The road might have beenblocked.

(= ‘I think the road was blocked, but I’m not 100% sure.’)
The negatives are may not haveand might not have. We don’tuse couldn’t have in the same way.He may not have left yet.
might not have given her the money; I’m not sure.

I could not have given her the money, I’m not sure.