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The ambiguity in "may not" can only be removed by context, right?

For example:

  1. You may not play football in the garden = you must not/are not allowed to play football in the garden
  2. This method may not be applicable in this case = It is possible that this method does not work in this case = It is likely that this method does not work in this case

Do I have the right understanding of "may not"?

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  • Lexico clarifies the ways in which may is used. 3 - May you score many goals. Feb 12, 2020 at 18:28
  • 1
    To soccer players and all other garden users: we're asking for a $15 donation towards the upkeed of the garden, especially the large lawn. You may not play football in the garden, but doubtless you will enjoy the improved plantings and facilities the monies will also allow. Context is everything. Feb 12, 2020 at 18:59
  • Thank you all:-)
    – ExOrbitant
    Feb 13, 2020 at 8:24

1 Answer 1

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Yes. All modal verbs have two functions: one that modifies the "mode" of the verb and the other which expresses some possibility.

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  • +1 ... but needs reference.
    – GEdgar
    Feb 12, 2020 at 19:09

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