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The difference between maybe and might be

Posted: 28 May 2007, 13:15
by chocalate
hi every body
can anyone explain to me the usage of maybe and might be?

with my regards
chocalate

Posted: 01 Jun 2007, 13:57
by jasminade
Firstly, "maybe" is an adverb. We use the word to say that something is possible or true, but we are not certain. E.g
"How old is John? ~ I don't really know. In her twenties, certainly. Twenty-five, maybe."

I think you mean "may be" and "might be", both modal auxiliaries that again, express that there is a chance that something is true or may happen. May and might are used to talk about present or future events. They can normally be used interchangeably, although might suggests a smaller chance of something happening. Compare the following:

"I may go Italy this summer. And you might like to come with me!"

Posted: 06 Jun 2007, 02:00
by Peter Easton
That’s true, ‘might’ is an auxiliary verb whereas ‘maybe’ is an adverb, therefore ‘might’ and ‘may’ are very similar.

'Might' is not usually used at the beginning of a sentence – a common error with learners of English (my girlfriend is particularly bad with this one).

E.g. ‘Might he is a vegetarian.’ as opposed to ‘Maybe he is a vegetarian.’

Or

Q: ‘Will you go to Italy this summer?’

A: ‘Might I will.’

An alternative that I think is underused in these situations is ‘perhaps’.

Posted: 06 Jun 2007, 09:31
by jasminade
I agree. I think the confusion in the use of "might" at the beginning of a sentence, is that it can be used, instead of can / may, when making a request in the first person singular form.

"Might I take this book?"

But for students, until they use English like Shakespeare, they should "When in doubt, leave it out!".

And use, as you point out, words like "perhaps".

Posted: 09 Jul 2007, 12:58
by bambang
Look at these sentences.

I might/may be late.
Maybe I am late.

Both sentences basically have the same meaning.

"May be" in the first sentence is written in two words while "maybe" in the second sentence is written in one word.

Do you think so dear Jasminade and Peter?

Posted: 10 Jul 2007, 09:06
by jasminade
bambang wrote:Look at these sentences.

I might/may be late.
Maybe I am late.

Both sentences basically have the same meaning.

"May be" in the first sentence is written in two words while "maybe" in the second sentence is written in one word.

Do you think so dear Jasminade and Peter?
Aww but the second is a question, is it not?

Maybe, I am late? (interrogative form). I maybe late (positive form).

Posted: 10 Jul 2007, 18:08
by bambang
Dear Jasminde.

You are the master.

You are from Ireland.

You are a native speaker.

What do you mean with "interrogate form"?

Please elaborate it more.

Thanks in advance.

Posted: 11 Jul 2007, 14:11
by jasminade
bambang wrote:Dear Jasminde.

You are the master. No
You are from Ireland. Yes
You are a native speaker. Yes

What do you mean with "interrogate form"? Please see my edit above (I type too fast at times, it should have read "interrogative", that is, "question form").

Please elaborate it more.

Thanks in advance.
Apologies, for any confusion.

Posted: 12 Jul 2007, 01:14
by Peter Easton
Surely the difference here is that ‘I might be’ indicates the conditional mood, i.e. I am possibly going to do something in the future, whereas ‘maybe I am’ indicates what is happening now in the present.

Posted: 12 Jul 2007, 04:10
by bambang
Dear Jasminade and Peter.

Thank you very much for the explaination.

How about these?

I might/may be late.
Maybe I'll be late.


Do both sentences basically have the same meaning?

Thanks in advance.

Posted: 12 Jul 2007, 04:56
by Peter Easton
'Maybe I'll be late' sounds less correct but for argument's sake let's say they both have the same meaning. However,'I might be late' sounds more definite.

Re: The difference between maybe and might be

Posted: 12 Feb 2010, 16:35
by jonnielsen
There is no difference between may and might worth agonizing about. may sounds a bit more formal to my ear. And may cannot be used where a past tense is required in tense matching: "I knew I might be late. Not I knew I may be late." In other situations, both are used the same way.

Use google search and you will find an amazing number of ideas about this.

Re:

Posted: 17 Feb 2010, 01:47
by systematic
Peter Easton wrote:'Maybe I'll be late' sounds less correct ...
Maybe because more natural language might tend towards:
I may be late. or I might be late.

Both which convey the same meaning especially if evoking an unuttered if clause.