Friday, 8 February 2013

Modal Verb May Examples

There are examples of the use of modal verb MAY in proverbs, sayings and quotations.


Note the use of the verb 'may / might' in the following proverbs and sayings. Memorize them.
  1. A cat may look at a king.
  2. Cowards may die many times before their death.
  3. A fair face may hide a foul heart.
  4. Bitter pills may have blessed effects.
  5. Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.
  6. Hares may pull dead lions by the beard.
  7. The remedy may be worse than the disease.
  8. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
  9. When the oak is before the ash, then you will only get a splash; when the ash is before the oak, then you may expect a soak.
  10. If you don’t like it you may lump it.
  11. Between the cup and the lip a morsel may slip.
  12. You may know by a handful the whole sack.
  13. Oaks may fall when reeds stand the storm.
  14. A baited cat may grow as fierce as lion.
  15. A stumble may prevent a fall.
  16. One man may steal a horse while another may not look over a hedge.
  17. A fool’s bolt may sometimes hit the mark.
  18. Little bodies may have great souls.
  19. He who peeps through a hole may see what will vex him.

Explain  the use of the verb 'may' and ‘might’ and the forms of the infinitive in the following proverbs and sayings.
  1. The evil wound may be cured, but not the evil name.
  2. Never put off till tomorrow what may be done today.
  3. What may be done at any time is done at no time.
  4. A bird may be known by its song.
  5. Nothing is so bad but it might have been worse.
  6. Nothing is so good but it might have been better.


Comment on the use of the verb ‘may’ in the following quotations. Explain them.
  1. The wisest of the wise may err. (Aeschylus)
  2. Little friends may prove great friends. (Aesop)
  3. Self-conceit may lead to self-destruction. (Aesop. 'The Frog and the Ox')
  4. Seize the present day, trusting the morrow as little as may be. (Horace)
  5. You may break, you may shatter the vase, if you will, But the scent of the roses will hang round it still. (T. Moore)
  6. Come what come may. (W. Shakespeare. 'Macbeth')
  7. By medicine life may be prolonged, yet Death will seize the doctor too. (W. Shakespeare)
  8. But men may construe things after their own fashion, Clean from the purpose of the things themselves. (W. Shakespeare)
  9. A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature. (R. Emerson)
  10. For men may come and men may go, But I go on for ever. (A. Tennyson)
  11. Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live. (M. Twain)
  12. Fortune may have yet a better success in reserve for you, and they who lose today, may win tomorrow. (M. de Cervantes)
  13. He that has patience may compass anything. (F. Rabelais)
  14. The severest justice may not always be the best policy. (Abraham Lincoln)
  15. We hope all danger may be overcome; but to conclude that no danger may ever arise would itself be extremely dangerous. (Abraham Lincoln)
  16. Particular lies may speak a general truth. (G. Eliot)
  17. "You may have as many words as you please, – only I can’t stay to hear them." (Anne Brontë . 'A Controversy')