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He can play. = He is able to play.

He cannot play. = He is unable to play.

He must not play. = He is forbidden to play. He is prohibited from playing.

He must play. = He is compelled/forced/obliged to play. He has to play.

He should play. = He is advised to play. or He is likely/expected/supposed to play. It is probable that he will.

He may play. = He is allowed to play. or He is ??? to play. It is possible that he will.

Is there an ordinary verb, an adjective, or a past participle, which can replace 'may/might' in a sentence that has a personal noun or pronoun, and not the preparatory 'it' as subject?

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  • 'He is uncertain to play' goes beyond 'It is possible that he will play' to 'It is fairly unlikely that he will play'. 'He's a possible' doubtless uses 'possible' nounally. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 18 '20 at 15:56
  • Depending on context, you might get away with “he is available to play”, ie there is nothing to prevent him playing. – pbasdf Dec 18 '20 at 16:54
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  • He is liable to play.

(OALD) liable to do something — likely to do something

This dictionary adds the word "probable" to the definition of "liable" (which is not yet "possible" but is nevertheless close in meaning).

probable, likely, or capable
It's liable to happen soon

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  • I gave up because I couldn't think of a decent answer. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 18 '20 at 16:48

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