A Married Couple


1) A Married Couple
2) Vocabulary Box
3) Grammar Spot: Might



A Married Couple

Although this married couple enjoyed their new fishing boat together, it was the husband who was behind the wheel operating the boat.

He was concerned about what might happen in an emergency. So one day out on the lake he said to his wife,

“Please take the wheel, dear. Pretend that I am having a heart attack. You must get the boat safely to shore and dock it.”

So she drove the boat to shore.

Later that evening, the wife walked into the living room where her husband was watching television. She sat down next to him, switched the TV channel, and said to him,

“Please go into the kitchen, dear. Pretend I’m having a heart attack and set the table, cook dinner and wash the dishes.”



Let’s explain some of the words in today’s joke!

– A wheel is a circular device that helps us control a vehicle.

– The man in our jokes was operating the boat, that means he was controlling the functioning of the boat, he was running the boat.

– To be concerned means to be worried.

– If someone docks a ship, they bring it into a dock (harbour).

– When you switch channels, you change from one channel to another.




The subject of our previous lesson was the modal verb ‘may’. Today we shall continue what we started last time and introduce the pair of ‘may’ into our story, the modal verb ‘might’.

Affirmative: Subject + might + verb (short infinitive).
Negative: Subject + might not/mightn’t + verb (short infinitive).
Interrogative: Might + subject + verb (short infinitive)?

He might pass the examination.
He might not pass the examination.
Might he pass the examination?

When ‘might’ express possibility, just like in the examples above, we can use it in the interrogative, but ‘could ‘ or ‘do you think…?” are more usual.

Could he pass the examination?
Do you think he will pass the examination?

We use ‘might’:

– to express possibility in the future or present

They might emigrate to New Zealand.
He might go to London tomorrow.
Things might not be as bad as they seem.
She might be sleeping.

Both ‘may’ and ‘might’ can be used in this context, but ‘might’ suggests more doubt.

– after verbs in the past tense, especially in the indirect speech and the sequence of tenses. In this case, ‘might’ is the past form of ‘may’.

I knew that he might visit us on Sunday.
He said that he might call her later.
They warned me that he might not like my idea.
He asked his boss if he might leave earlier that day.

– the construction ‘might + perfect infinitive’ is used when we speculate about the past.

You might have left your keys at the office.
She might have won the contest.
They might have lent you the money.
It might have been worse.

– in conditional sentences to indicate a possible instead of a certain result. ‘Might’ is the conditional form of ‘may’.

If I took part in the essay competition, I might win the big prize.
If I didn’t have to work, I might go with you.
If you had left your purse there, someone might have stolen it.
If you had invited her to your party, she might have come.

Equivalent expressions:

– could

He may/might/could be in the living room.
The plane may/might/ could be delayed by the bad weather.

Note that in the negative, there is a difference in meaning.

He might not have his cell phone. = Perhaps he doesn’t have the cell phone.
He could have his cell phone. = It impossible that he has his cell phone.

– to be likely/ unlikely

Is he likely to win?
It’s likely that the meeting will go on until later in the evening.

– perhaps

Perhaps he is ill.
Perhaps they have already arrived.


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That was all for today. I hope you have enjoyed yourself and learnt
new useful things. Till next time, take care.

Your tutor,

Copyright© 2007 English Through Jokes. All Rights Reserved.


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