You might not smoke on the bus

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  • buffalo315

    English - Southern
    Is this a command not to smoke on the bus? If so, it would be "you may not smoke on the bus."

    but i´m a little confused without context..



    It´s a double choice between " You couldn´t / might not smoke on the bus", I know you can say you can´t smoke to prohibit something, or may not and couldn´t sounds terrible. I wonder if in BE, they say might not and what is the implication. Thanks.


    Look at this :used for asking for or giving permission
    2a. SPOKEN used for very politely asking permission to do something:
    Might I ask the president a question?
    I wonder if I might use your telephone.
    John asked if he might accompany me, and I agreed.
    2b. FORMAL if someone said in the past that you might do something, they gave you permission to do it:
    Mr Binks had said that we might borrow his pickup truck.


    New Member
    British English
    To me, "you might not smoke on the bus" is not a prohibition, but a statement of probability, meaning the same as "maybe you won't smoke on the bus".
    Also, "couldn't" sounds terrible because it's the wrong tense... in this case the only ones that sound right to me are "you may not" (formal), "you can't" (informal).


    Senior Member
    English - US (Texas)
    "You couldn't smoke on the bus" works just fine, if you're reporting how it was in the past.
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