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I want to know the differences of these phrases exactly. I sometimes get confused by these phrases when I have to separate out their meanings and use them correctly. Please help me! :) 1. I think they will 2. I think they would 3. I think they may 4. I think they might 5. I think they can 6. I think they could
Sep 29, 2012 9:17 AM
Answers · 8
Michael's answers seem to be on the mark, so I'll just give a response based on artificial dialogues in Question/Answer form: 1. I think they will. Q: Do you think John and Sarah will come to the party tonight? A: Yes, I think they will. Reasoning: The party is definitely happening, and the person answering the question believes that John and Sarah both are able to attend the party, and will choose to do so. 2. I think they would. Q: If I had a party tonight, will John and Sarah come? A: Yes, I think they would. Reasoning: The party isn't definite, but the person answering thinks that if there was a party, John and Sarah would choose to attend. 3./4. I think they may/might. Q: Will John and Sarah come to my party tonight? // If I had a party, would John and Sarah come? A: I think they may/might. Reasoning: May/might are used when the person has the capability to do something, but their intention is unclear. This is very similar to saying "I think they will come." However, "will" implies a greater likelihood than "may/might." 5. I think they can. Q: Are John and Sarah able to come to the party? A: Yes, I think they can. Reasoning: This assumes that the party is definitely happening, and asks whether the subject is able to join. This doesn't suggest anything about intention - simply, can they, or can they not? 6. I think they could. Q: If I had a party, would John and Sarah be able to make it? A: Yes, I think they could. Reasoning: In this situation, the party might happen or might not happen. The question is asking whether the subject could attend if they party does happen.
September 30, 2012
can is used for ability, PRESENT OR FUTURE. I can drive a car. I can learn English well. Could is used for ability Past I could drive a car. may is used for Probability, present or future I may use a car Might is used for probability PAST He might visit me.
September 29, 2012
Very subtle differences between some of these. Most English speakers would almost surely accept any of them as meaning the same thing. 5/6 can/could - means a posession of a capability, it does not imply action. They can go to the cinema but always choose not to go. (could and can are substitutes in this sentence) 1 will - an definite intention for action in the future. They will go to the cinema tonight like they do every night. 3/4 may, might - a possible intention to do something, but not definite. They may go to the cinema tonight but they could change their minds again. (might could be substituted in the sentence above) 2 would - an intention to do something, but there are conditions involved, They would go to the cinema if they had money. The conclusion : English speakers would not care which construction you used.
September 29, 2012
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, Korean
Learning Language
Chinese (Mandarin), English