Every region has words or phrases that are specific to that area and you don’t really hear them outside of that region. For example, in New England “wicked” is used frequently as in that’s wicked cool. In California, “hella” is used in the same way that “wicked” would be used, or if you are a kid and “hella” is too much of a grown up word, you’d say “hecka”. I ran into someone from the midwest recently and he described someone else as being “snarky”, and I realized I hadn’t heard that word since leaving Michigan. In the south there there’s they typical “ya’ll” which has spread out of the south and it seems as though you can find someone saying “ya’ll” in any part of the country. The phrase I’d never heard before moving to Texas, though, is “might could”. From context and what the words mean separately, I realize that this phrase more or less means should or maybe. I’ve only heard this phrase used a couple of times, but every time I hear it, I become so focused on why anyone would ever use the words might and could together, one right after another, that I lose all concentration on what might could he or she be talking about. (I know that’s not the proper use of “might could”, if there even is a proper use, but I had to toss it in there).
Just to clarify, let me give you the example that www.urbandictionary.com provides so you can see it in context:
Student: Miss, I didn’t finish my essay.
Teacher: We might could try a little harder next time.
Has anyone ever heard this phrase before? Can someone please explain to me why you would ever say those two words together in a sentence? Am I missing something? Those two words together just doesn’t make any sense to me. I’ve lost nights of sleep over this phrase (well, not really, but it consumes my time that could be spent thinking about other things). I’m tempted to call in to A Way With Words, which is by far my most favorite program on NPR, and ask them where this phrase came from and why on earth would anyone use it. If anyone out there reading this has any thoughts or knowledge on this “might could” conundrum, I would love to know what you think! Please fill me in, in order to save my grammatical sanity.