Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. would perhaps be able to (used to soften "could" or make it even more conditional)

Etymologies

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Examples

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Comments

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  • True. I stand corrected. Interesting date that would be. For a morning person.

    April 20, 2008

  • Actually, Germans use 24hr time, so half seven actually means 6:30am :D

    April 20, 2008

  • Be careful in Germany: "half seven" will mean 6.30pm, not half past seven, making for missed dates. There's a delicious logic in that, I know.

    April 20, 2008

  • Grew up in Illinois, and "quarter of" was not only understood by one and all, but standard usage, probably on par in frequency with "quarter to" and "quarter til".

    Anyhow, I got to say, y'all are mighty literal.

    April 20, 2008

  • Having grown up in Illinois, I have to throw my own befuddlement behind "quarter of". I've lived in upstate New York for twelve years now, and I still get confused when someone says "I'll be over at a quarter of three".

    I've never actually heard anyone say might could, or any other double modal, but it makes perfect sense to me, and I hope it spreads northwards. :-)

    (Oh, and see this map for American usage of double modals.)

    April 20, 2008

  • Same here, c_b. A "quarter of" it was--and I never thought twice about it until now. Funny, that. :-)

    November 1, 2007

  • I grew up saying "quarter of," and thought it was odd that the rest of the world didn't.

    Of course, that's an accusation frequently leveled at people from my region of the United States: we think *we're* normal and everyone *else* is weird.

    October 31, 2007

  • Eww, I hate that particular phrase too, because I can never remember what it means, and it has thrown my schedule into confusion on multiple occasions.

    October 31, 2007

  • Sorry I didn't check back after my post for 6 days.

    I don't think it sounds grammatically atrocious if your native dialect permits double modals. Something I hear in the Northeast U.S. that I am pretty sure is ungrammatical in every other English dialect is "a quarter of." The first time I ever heard the phrase was on an episode of "The Jeffersons" and I assumed it meant 15 minutes after the previous hour--which is what it seems to mean, logically. When I moved to New York I found out that it means 15 minutes before the hour, which is what in most dialects is referred to as "a quarter to" or "a quarter 'til." To anybody not from the Northeast U.S., "a quarter of" might sound grammatically atrocious, or at least bewildering.

    October 31, 2007

  • I apologize, U. I realized as soon as I hit the Comment button that you had already said essentially the same thing. I might could have deleted it, but I figured what the hey...

    October 25, 2007

  • Haha, nice example! :-P Yes, that's the third usage I mentioned, which I don't have (as much of) a problem with.

    October 25, 2007

  • I don't completely agree with U's assertion that "might could" substitutes for either word. It's really more like saying "I might be able to" as opposed to saying "I might if I feel like it." Like this:

    Ned: "Lonnie got his tractor stuck in the gully. Could you pull it out?"

    Lester: "I might could if he's not stuck too deep."

    That's very different than saying:

    Ned: "Lonnie got his tractor mired in the gully. Could you pull it out?"

    Lester: "I might. What's in it for me?."

    It's definitely a Southern regionalism which doesn't sound strange to my ears.

    October 25, 2007

  • I like it. It's a regionalism, sorta, but also a socio-economic class/cultural thing.

    I don't know what that means. Anyway I like might could. Sorry, u!

    October 24, 2007

  • Most every time I hear the phrase, it's used in one of two ways: it's either substituting for might, or it's substituting for could. In those situations, I get the impression the speaker doesn't know which one is correct, so he goes with both just to cover all the bases. That's BAD.

    But to be fair, there are other times it's used as an abbreviated form of "might be able to" and that's a little more acceptable. Grammatically atrocious, of course, but shorthand is reasonable in response to a mouthful of a phrase.

    October 24, 2007

  • It's not redundant or repetitive. "I might could" means "maybe I could" or "possibly I could" or "I don't know whether I could or not" or "perhaps I could" or "maybe I would be able to" or "given the right circumstances I could." It may sound odd if you're not from the South or from Scotland, but it's a useful construction and it might even spread to other parts of the English-speaking world in much the same way that the way the use of "already" after the imperative has spread from certain ethnic dialects of New York City.

    October 24, 2007

  • Consider: "might do" (possibility) doesn't necessarily include "could do" (capability). "Might could" is a nuanced gray area appropriate, perhaps, especially in the South. Or, perhaps not. :o)

    September 26, 2007

  • I do hate this one. What's the point? Just pick one already, it saves time and energy. Might? Or could? Not both.

    March 29, 2007

  • Where did this phrase come from? I've only noticed it in the South, and, HORRORS, caught myself about to use it one day.

    March 29, 2007

  • You put the words in my mouth. Or on my list, as it were.

    February 7, 2007

  • though it probably belongs in uselessness's redundant and repetitive pile as well

    February 7, 2007