Maybe or May Be?

Maybe or May Be?

β€œIt may be coincidence that the decline of newspapers has corresponded with the rise of social media. Or maybe not.”

Ryan Holmes, founder and CEO of Hootsuite

Read this post to make sure you know and remember the difference. An exercise to check yourself is at the bottom of the page. Enjoy! πŸ˜‰

DEFINITELY MAYBE

Maybe is an adverb which we can use to make a comment on the whole sentence or clause (1) or before a number (2):

Maybe I’ll do it. (1)

Hundreds β€“ maybe thousands β€“ were shocked. (2)

The adverb maybe means perhaps: Maybe we can go there together. = Perhaps, we can go there together.

Note that although maybe and perhaps have the same meaning, maybe is used mainly in spoken English and informal writing, while perhaps is more typical of formal English. Compare:

Maybe there is something we can do about it.

There are, perhaps, some things which we can do.

MAY BE

The phrase may be consists of the modal verb may and the verb to be (which of course can’t be used with to after may). May be has the same meaning as could be:

I may be wrong.

We may be able to do it by the end of the day.

Note that both the adverb maybe and the phrase may be are similar in meaning, but very different in their grammar. Compare:

Maybe I can help you. (= Perhaps, I can help you.)

I may be able to help you. (= It’s possible that I can help you.)

PRACTICE

Complete the sentences with may be or maybe. The answer key is at the bottom of the page.

  1. In an earthquake your house ___ badly damaged.
  2. It ___ an unfulfilled dream.
  3. Now, ___ I haven’t explained myself very well.
  4. There ____ another chance to take the exam.
  5. At weekends she would drive into Oxford, do the shopping, and ___ visit a few friends.
  6. It ___ a good idea to start saving money.
  7. We ___ coming to your place later today.
  8. ___ you could do a little job for me?
  9. The whole process takes ___ ten or fifteen minutes.
  10. This subject ___ easy for you to understand.
Maybe it’s time to start with a clean slate…

Answer key:

  1. may be 2. may be 3. maybe 4. may be 5. maybe 6. may be 7. may be 8. Maybe 9. maybe 10. may be

Did you like the post? Would you like more content like this? Please subscribe to out blog not to miss a thing. 😊

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s