November 21


Maybe vs. May be


Hi everyone, you’re listening to Cambridge Exam Coach, a podcast for people who want to improve their English.

I’m Kristian, your host, and in this episode we’re talking about the difference between maybe and may be.

May is used to express possibility. Usually not a very strong one. It’s a modal verb, so it’s always followed by a bare infinitive.

The bare infinitive of ‘to be’ is… be! Using may and be together, we can make a sentence:

‘Don’t call her, she may be in a meeting.’

Now, ‘maybe’ is just one word. It’s an adverb, and it has a few uses.

Most commonly it means perhaps or possibly. In this case, it’s often the first word in a sentence.

For example, ‘She’s not in her office. Maybe she’s having lunch’.

However, when you put ‘maybe’ in front of an amount, it means ‘around’ or ‘approximately’.

For example, ‘This podcast will be listened to by maybe a million people’.

Well, maybe in my dreams.  It’s OK to dream out loud, isn’t it?

That’s all for today. Take care of yourself, and each other. Goodbye!

About the author 


Kristian is from The Netherlands, but he lives in Prague, Czechia. He is a CELTA qualified teacher who passed the Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam with grade A. When he's not working, he likes to chill out with music, podcasts or an audiobook.


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