Difference between Would and Might

Key difference: ‘Might’ implies that something may or we may not happen. ‘Would’ implies that something will most probably happen.

Both, would and might are types of modal verbs in the English language. Modal verbs are a small class of auxiliary verbs used mostly to express modality. Modality is basically a possibility or an obligation. Other modal verbs include can, could, may, must, shall, should, and will.

According to Dictionary.com, the term ‘would’ is described as:

  • A simple past tense and past participle of ‘will’.
  • (Used to express the future in past sentences): He said he would go tomorrow.
  • (Used in place of will, to make a statement or form a question less direct or blunt): That would scarcely be fair. Would you be so kind?
  • (Used to express repeated or habitual action in the past): We would visit Grandma every morning up at the farm.
  • (Used to express an intention or inclination): Nutritionists would have us all eat whole grains.
  • (Used to express a wish): Would he were here!
  • (Used to express an uncertainty): It would appear that he is guilty.
  • (Used in conditional sentences to express choice or possibility): They would come if they had the fare. If the temperature were higher, the water would evaporate.
  • Would have, (used with a past participle to express unfulfilled intention or preference): I would have saved you some but Jimmy took it all.

Dictionary.com describes ‘might’ as:

  • Simple past tense of ‘may’.
  • (Used to express possibility): They might be at the station.
  • (Used to express advisability): You might at least thank me.
  • (Used in polite requests for permission): Might I speak to you for a moment?

Essentially, the difference between would and might is in the manner that they are used, as they give a different impression of things. Consider these sentences:

  • We might go to a restaurant. – This implies that we may or we may not go to the restaurant.
  • We would go to a restaurant. - This implies that we will most probably go to the restaurant.

Further examples of ‘would’:

  • If I were president, I would cut the cost of education.
  • If I were president, I would not raise taxes.
  • He told me he would be here before 8:00.
  • I said I wouldn't help you.
  • When I was a kid, I would always go to the beach.
  • When he got older, he would never do his homework
  • Even as a boy, he knew that he would succeed in life.
  • She said that she would buy some eggs.
  • Why didn't you bring your umbrella? I told you it would rain!
  • Yesterday morning, the car wouldn't start.
  • Every weekday my father would come home from work at 6pm and watch TV.
  • We would always argue. We could never agree.

Further examples of ‘might’:

  • She might be on the bus. I think her car is having problems.
  • She might not be on the bus. She might be walking home.
  • If I entered the contest, I might actually win.
  • Even if I had entered the contest, I might not have won.
  • You might try the cheesecake.
  • You might not want to eat the cheese cake. It's not very good.
  • Might I have something to drink?
  • I might go to the party, but I haven't decided yet.
  • I thought that I might go the next day.
  • The drain is blocked; we might have to call a plumber.
  • The cake is too big, but the cookies might fit in this box.

Image Courtesy: kara.allthingsd.com, iwastesomuchtime.com

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