Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Maybe and May be

Maybe vs May be

“May be” and “maybe” are words which are spelled with the same letters, sound the same, but have very different meanings when written. While speaking there is hardly any difference thus the incorrectness of the use does not show. In writing, however, they cannot be interchanged and should be used with caution. “May be” and “maybe” are two different parts of speech. “Maybe” is an adverb and “may be” is a verb.

The word “maybe” is used as an adverb; an adverb is a word that modifies verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. Adverbs usually tell about the conditions under which something happened or happens. Words like “when, where, how, why,” etc.

“Maybe” basically means “perhaps” when used as an adverb. It denotes a choice available to someone. The choice of either doing something or not doing something. For example, “Maybe she will go to the market today.” There is a simple trick of finding out if you have used “maybe” in the right place by interchanging “maybe” with “perhaps.” If the sentence makes sense and refers to a choice, then someone who is not very sure about the usage can be sure that “maybe” has been used correctly.

“Maybe” can be used in the beginning of a sentence, the middle, or end of a sentence. For example, “Maybe she likes him” or “She maybe likes him” or “She likes him, maybe.”

May be
“May be” is used as a verb. A verb is a word which shows the occurrence of an action or performance of an action. It also indicates the existence of a condition or state, etc. Words like “run, eat, sleep, play” are some of the examples of verbs. In a simple way we can say the “doing words” are the verbs.

“May be” is basically used as “would be” or “could be.” It denotes a possibility, the possibility of something happening or something being something. For example, “He may be from America. She may be ill.”

The simple trick to check if the use of “may be” is correct, one may use “could be” or “would be” in place of “may be.” If it makes sense, the usage is correct. For example, “Driving a car may be easier than riding a bike.” Change the words as “Driving a car could be easier than riding a bike.” It does make sense. If one uses “perhaps” in place of “may be” here, the sentence will not make sense.


1.“Maybe” is an adverb; “may be” is a verb.
2.“Maybe” refers to a choice; “may be” refers to a possibility.

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  1. hmmm,,,very thoughtful information,,,
    thank you..

  2. Please,
    If the sentence was
    I go to the club……..once or twice a month
    Will it be ‘may be’as a verb or not???illustrate please

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