May

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may

v. a choice to act or not, or a promise of a possibility, as distinguished from "shall" which makes it imperative. 2) in statutes, and sometimes in contracts, the word "may" must be read in context to determine if it means an act is optional or mandatory, for it may be an imperative. The same careful analysis must be made of the word "shall." Non-lawyers tend to see the word "may" and think they have a choice or are excused from complying with some statutory provision or regulation. (See: shall)

MAY. To be permitted; to be at liberty; to have the power.
     2. Whenever a statute directs the doing of a thing for the sake of justice or the public good, the word may is the same as shall. For example, the 23 H. VI. says, the sheriff may take bail, that is construed he shall, for he is compellable to do so. Carth. 293 Salk. 609; Skin. 370.
     3. The words shall and may in general acts of the legislature or in private constitutions, are to be construed imperatively; 3. Atk. 166; but the construction of those words in a deed depends on circumstances. 3 Atk. 282. See 1 Vern. 152, case. 142 9 Porter, R. 390.

References in periodicals archive ?
In his dialogue, The Supersensual Life, Boehme advises a disciple, "Blessed art thou therefore if that thou canst stand still from self-thinking and self-willing, and canst stop the wheel of thy imagination and senses; forasmuch as hereby thou mayest arrive at length to see the great Salvation of God, being made capable of all manner of divine sensations and heavenly communications" (Boehme 14; dialogue 1).
Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
I remember spending a lot of time in push up position with my platoon, repeating the 5th law which states (from memory) "On the strength of one link in the cable, dependeth the might of the chain, who knows when though mayest be tested?
Moses says that when the Lord brings the Children of Israel into the Land of Israel, the Lord will circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed to love thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul that thou mayest live (Deut.
take thought on how thou mayest put forth thy hands on the shameless
Budget thy expenses that thou mayest have coins to pay for thy necessities, to pay for thy enjoyments and to gratify thy worthwhile desires without spending more than nine-tenths of thy earnings.
very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do
When Wiremu Tamihana, the so-called Kingmaker, wrote to Governor Browne to justify the King movement, he referenced Deuteronomy 17:15 which states that 'one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not seta stranger over thee, which is not thy brother', and gave as examples a number of monarchs then reigning over their own people.
And the Lord thy God will put out those nations before thee little by little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee.
Henceforth, wherever thou mayest roam, My blessing, like a line of light, Is on the waters day and night, And like a beacon guards thee home.
In the Missale ad Usum Ecclesiae Sarum, (36) the new mother was covered with a veil, had prayers said over her and was then sprinkled with holy water before being led into the church by a priest saying, "Enter into the temple of God, that thou mayest have eternal life," (37) or "Thou shalt purge me, O Lord, with hyssop' (hyssop being the herb used to cleanse sacramental vessels).
enemy indeed thou mayest overcome by blows; thy invisible enemy thou