In my paper, I wrote this sentence:
Individual fitness then may or may not project into the population-level demography rates.
Now I started to doubt if it is correct! Because if I look up the meaning of "may not", it is actually a prohibition! So perhaps the "correct" way should be "may or need not"? Or "may or doesn't have to"? Yeah, sounds weird, but that's what you would expect, grammatically.
But I've been looking here in some other questions, and from this it seems like "may or may not" is correct.
So my question is:
- Really? Is this correct?
- Why? Is it some "inconsistency", an exception, that "may not" in this context means "doesn't have to"? Whereas in other cases it means a prohibition? Is it an exception because "may or may not" reads better?