I am reading The Lord of the Ring where I found this sentence: May you have joy of the sight, my good dwarf!

Is it a correct usage of modal verb? I have not found any grammar rule for this case.

Thank you.


It is grammatical and current usage in formal contexts, to express a wish or desire.

  • May all your dreams come true.
  • May the New Year bring you joy and happiness.
  • May the peace of Christmas be with you.
  • Let the games begin! Would that it be so. Should you ever see such things again. I'm not sure about that first one.
    – Mitch
    Mar 25 '15 at 15:31
  • May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be white. Mar 25 '15 at 15:38
  • @Centaurus - more examples of sentences beginning with modals. 'let' is usually not considered a modal but it seems to act like one here.
    – Mitch
    Mar 25 '15 at 15:47
  • Thank you. If I changed may in this sentence with another modal verb like would or should, would meaning be the same?
    – dekko
    Mar 25 '15 at 15:52
  • @dekko No, the meaning wouldn't be the same. "Should you have any more doubts about it, feel free to contact me" = "If you have any more doubts..."
    – Centaurus
    Mar 25 '15 at 22:52

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