What part of speech is “may”

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the fifth month of the year.

We are going to Brazil in May.


May is used as a modal verb to indicate possibility or permission in the present moment. It is typically used for polite requests and can be replaced by 'can' or 'could' in most cases.

May is conjugated as follows 'I may; you may; he/she/it may; we may; they may.' May is usually followed by an infinitive verb without 'to' (e.g. 'I may go'). May is also used to express a wish (e.g. 'May you have a pleasant journey').

1. 'May I borrow your pen?'

2. 'We may have to leave early if the traffic is bad.'

3. 'May your dreams come true!'

When expressing permission, 'can' is more informal than 'may' and should not be used in formal contexts. 'May not' can be used to indicate the opposite of permission (e.g. 'You may not leave the room'). When using 'may' as a modal verb, it is never conjugated to the past tense. If necessary, the entire sentence should be expressed in the past tense (e.g. 'We could have left early if the traffic was bad').

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