There are examples of the use of modal verb MAY in proverbs, sayings and quotations.
INote the use of the verb 'may / might' in the following proverbs and sayings. Memorize them.
- A cat may look at a king.
- Cowards may die many times before their death.
- A fair face may hide a foul heart.
- Bitter pills may have blessed effects.
- Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.
- Hares may pull dead lions by the beard.
- The remedy may be worse than the disease.
- Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
- 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.
- If you don’t like it you may lump it.
- Between the cup and the lip a morsel may slip.
- You may know by a handful the whole sack.
- Oaks may fall when reeds stand the storm.
- A baited cat may grow as fierce as lion.
- A stumble may prevent a fall.
- One man may steal a horse while another may not look over a hedge.
- A fool’s bolt may sometimes hit the mark.
- Little bodies may have great souls.
- He who peeps through a hole may see what will vex him.
IIExplain the use of the verb 'may' and ‘might’ and the forms of the infinitive in the following proverbs and sayings.
- The evil wound may be cured, but not the evil name.
- Never put off till tomorrow what may be done today.
- What may be done at any time is done at no time.
- A bird may be known by its song.
- Nothing is so bad but it might have been worse.
- Nothing is so good but it might have been better.
IIIComment on the use of the verb ‘may’ in the following quotations. Explain them.
- The wisest of the wise may err. (Aeschylus)
- Little friends may prove great friends. (Aesop)
- Self-conceit may lead to self-destruction. (Aesop. 'The Frog and the Ox')
- Seize the present day, trusting the morrow as little as may be. (Horace)
- You may break, you may shatter the vase, if you will, But the scent of the roses will hang round it still. (T. Moore)
- Come what come may. (W. Shakespeare. 'Macbeth')
- By medicine life may be prolonged, yet Death will seize the doctor too. (W. Shakespeare)
- But men may construe things after their own fashion, Clean from the purpose of the things themselves. (W. Shakespeare)
- A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature. (R. Emerson)
- For men may come and men may go, But I go on for ever. (A. Tennyson)
- Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live. (M. Twain)
- Fortune may have yet a better success in reserve for you, and they who lose today, may win tomorrow. (M. de Cervantes)
- He that has patience may compass anything. (F. Rabelais)
- The severest justice may not always be the best policy. (Abraham Lincoln)
- We hope all danger may be overcome; but to conclude that no danger may ever arise would itself be extremely dangerous. (Abraham Lincoln)
- Particular lies may speak a general truth. (G. Eliot)
- "You may have as many words as you please, – only I can’t stay to hear them." (Anne Brontë . 'A Controversy')