Doug Cornelius of Compliance Building has taken note of a Securities and Exchange Commission order issued last Friday instituting proceedings against an investment adviser, Diastole Wealth Management, Inc., for insufficient disclosure of conflicts of interest related to investments that the advisor managed for a private fund client. Although the advisor revealed that he “might” recommend certain investments, the SEC noted that the advisor had in fact already recommended the investments.

In general, “may” can be used to express either possibility (for example, it may rain tomorrow) or permission (for example, you can take the day off tomorrow). The word itself is derived from the past verb present in Old English mæg, which means to be able. This meaning can be seen in the following lines of the Old English poem, Solomon and Saturn:

Born mæg fȳres feng ne forstes cile,
snāw ne sunne, somod eardian
(neither the catch of fire nor the cold of the frost
snow or sun, May [is able to] live together)??

The California Corporations Code (Section 15) defines “may” as permissive.

If this little etymological extract arouses curiosity in Old English (the Germanic vernacular language in England before 1100 AD), I recently came across a book by Bruce Mitchell, An invitation to Old English and Anglo-Saxon England, which provides a very readable and enthusiastic introduction to the subject.

?? My translation


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