The word "maybe" is used in response to a question in which the answer is "yes" or "no." "Maybe" is an answer that is somewhere between "yes" or "no." It’s also used when there’s uncertainty, or a person is unsure about something.

  • A: Is it going to snow tomorrow?
  • B: Maybe.
  • A: Does the car have gas?
  • B: Maybe. I’m not sure.
  • Maybe we can go to the museum this week.
  • Maybe he’ll find a good job if he moves to a bigger city.
  • When Theresa retires, she might move to Arizona, or maybe she’ll go to Florida. She doesn’t know yet.
  • Maybe this time I’ll win the lottery.

Don’t confuse the word "maybe" with the modal verb "may" and the main verb "be." Maybe is one word. It doesn’t go after a subject. May be are two words which follow a subject. Listen to the examples below:

  • I may be late. (Not, I maybe late.)
  • She may be too tired. (Not, She maybe too tired.)
  • He may be here later today. (Not, He maybe here later today.)
  • Maybe she’s too tired.
  • Maybe he’ll be here later today.

This video shows the spectrum of responses from yes to maybe to no.


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Date of publication: December 19, 2016