Quick Questions: could | might | may HAVE

Read the following
dialogue and
choose the correct
answer below.

– Who sent these flowers?
– I’m not sure. It ………… your mother.

a) could have been
b) might have been
c) may have been

Show answer

All three are possible!

To say that it is possible that something happened or was true in the past, we can use may/might have + past participle.

• Polly’s very late. ~ She may have missed her train. (= it is possible that she missed the train)

• What was that noise? ~ It might have been a cat.

However, although “might have” and “may have” are used interchangeably, a number of people find “may have” incorrect if we know that something was possible, but actually did not happen.

• You were stupid to try climbing up there. You might have killed yourself.

• The draw against Italy might have been a turning point, but it didn’t turn out like that.

May/might have … Can sometimes refer to the present or future.

• I’ll try phoning him, but he may have gone out by now.

• By the end of this year I might have saved some money.