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VERBS, AUXILIARY. May in doubtful statements

May is used with various shades of the meaning of "permission," "possibility," &c.:

“He shall know you better, sir, if I may live to report you.

i.e. "if I am permitted by heaven to live long enough."

It is a modest way of stating what ought to be well known, in

“If you may please to think I love the king.

“A score of ewes may be worth ten pounds.

i.e. "is possibly worth ten pounds." "May be" is often thus used almost adverbially for possibly.


“Season your admiration for awhile
Till I may deliver,

may means "can," "have time to."

“May (can) it be possible?

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