Difference Between Could and Might (With Table)

With the modernization taking place over the globe, language also has updated itself with the English language showing supremacy all over the world. It is one of the oldest and most widely spoken languages around the globe. English has made communication way better between different countries by being an international language used for communication. English has eight parts of speech which help in the formation of sentences and make them easier to understand.

Could vs Might

The difference between Could and Might is that could is used to say about something or some event or action that is possible or has a great possibility of happening, whereas ‘might’ is used when there are few possibilities of occurrence of an event. E.g. Shweta could visit us on Friday. (It is a possibility. Shweta may or may not visit the speaker on Friday.) Shweta might visit us on Friday. (It is a possibility that Shweta may or may not visit. However, here the speaker isn’t sure that she will be visiting on Friday.)

Could is the past tense of ‘can’. It is used to describe an ability or a possibility. It is used when someone is referring to an ability in the past and acts as a conditional verb that expresses ability or past possibility. For example, In middle school, I could play Table tennis. It is used as a modal verb or helping verb to describe a possibility in the present and future tense.

Might- refers to a situation or an event that has a possibility of occurrence, but the occurrence of the situation or event is not entirely assured. E.g. Shweta might go to Jaipur next. Here, there is a chance of the happening of the event, but the speaker uses it to express a rare chance that may or may not happen. 

Comparison Table Between Could and Might

Parameters of ComparisonCouldMight
MeaningCould refer to possibilities in the past or to a situation or an event that has a probability of happening.  Might is an auxiliary verb used in a past tense form to describe a situation or an event that has a possibility of happening but is not entirely assured.  
Root verbCanMay
TensePast tense of canPast principle form of may
UsageUsed in past conditional sentences.
Used in case of making requests, asking questions, giving suggestions, or seeking permissions.
Used in a situation that has very fewer possibilities or in situations that are unlikely to happen.  
Used when seeking permission.  
Nature of speechFormalInformal

What is Could?

Could is a helping verb used along with a verb in the formation of a sentence and is used to express a past possibility, i.e. something that was possible in the past. It is used in a variety of situations and circumstances.

‘Could’ is used in the case of conditional sentences. If I had more money this month, I could buy a washing machine. Could is also used to refer to one’s abilities but in the past tense. When I was younger, I could skate for thirty minutes straight. Could is also used to predict future possibilities. We could go to the hills with our friends this weekend.

When making a request or asking a question, the use of ‘could’ can be seen. Could you please pass the chair over to me? Could is also used to indicate what you are able to do or are permitted to do. She suggested that after we finished the task, we could go to the water park. When making a suggestion, use could. Instead of cold coffee, we could order a milkshake. Could is also used to show politeness in your voice. Could you please spend some time at the reception counter?

What is Might? 

Might is a prepositional word. This is the past form of the standard verb “may”. It can be used in various phrases, but the context may vary considerably. Might is used in phrases that show less chance of a future event. It can be used to describe a hypothetical, counter-factual situation or less likely to occur. This article demonstrates some of the uses of the auxiliary verb “might.”

When we have to report something that was said, felt, or questioned by another, we use the word ‘might’. For example, Ravi mentioned that he might enter the golf club. I brought an umbrella with me because I thought that it might rain today. Might is often used when making a suggestion to another. For example, For the job interview, she might choose to dress formally.

Might is also used while respectfully asking a question or making a request. For example, I’m wondering if you might give me a ride home. Might I extend an invitation to you to my parents’ dinner this weekend? Might is also used to define hypothetical or situational aspects.

Main Differences Between Could and Might

  1. ‘Could’ is used to convey a thought, provide an alternative, or provide a solution for someone else, or for expressing strong views or advice. Might, on the other hand, is used to describe a probability.
  2. Could do not articulate any sort of conclusion or conclusion. It only discusses chance in one of two or more scenarios. Might is a past principal type of may that is often used to characterize the likelihood of an event occurring, but only when the probability is low.
  3. We let the third party be the decision-maker when we use ‘could’. Might is used in cases where there are fewer chances of anything occurring, but it can imply that the event is even less likely to happen.
  4. ‘Could’ is used to share thoughts or opinions with senior or elderly people. Might is used while requesting permission. 
  5. Might is a word that is used to prevent misunderstanding. It is used in the present tense and can mean the present.


Both the auxiliary verbs could and might are used in addition to verbs to form a meaningful sentence. The first is the past tense of ‘can’ while the latter is the past tense of ‘may’. Both are used for their respective purposes and have a different context for their usage. 

Both give a similar meaning but up to different levels. Might is used in case of less information and could is used when someone has peculiar knowledge about something. If one has less knowledge about something, they might is used, and if the person has more knowledge about something or some situation, then ‘could’ is used. Could refer to a possibility while Might refers to a probability.

Noun vs Verb video