Modal verb usage may/could


New Member
Hello!I need help with the right usage of modal verbs could and may. Which sentence sound better and more correct? "This is the worst experience you may have" or "This is the worst experience you could have". Thank you!
  • BelieveInYourDream

    New Member
    The context is about a problem bullying. " It´s called bullying and is the worst experience that a school-age child could/may(???)have"

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Actually, I think that being bullied is the worst thing that a child can be subjected to (speaking as a mother whose child was bullied, although fortunately not badly), but I admit that is a subjective opinion. It is not guaranteed that a child will be bullied at school: I would use 'may' in that context (i.e. your child may be bullied at school).

    If however you believe that bullying is possibly (and therefore not certainly) the worst thing a child can experience at school, I'd use could. If you consider it an ever remoter possibility, I'd use may.
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