Could anybody tell me what is the difference between "perhaps" and "maybe"? Thanks :)

5 Answers


Dio 2600

For the most part, "maybe" and "perhaps" have the same meaning; however, there are some circumstances where "maybe" would sound wrong, whereas I think "perhaps" is aways safe to use.

"maybe" sounds a little less formal that "perhaps"; I would tend not to use it in writing, only in speech. For example, in a business report, I wouldn't write "Maybe we shall only know the true cost of the project after it has finished", but rather "Perhaps we shall ...".

Even in speech, I would avoid using "maybe" near the auxilliary verb "may". For example, I could say "It may perhaps take longer than you think to drive to Scotland", in which "perhaps" is rather superfluous, and is really only used for emphasis; but I certainly would not say "It may maybe take longer ...", simply because of the clash of similar sounds

In summary, "perhaps" is always safe to use. "maybe" is slightly more informal, and there is a danger of clash/confusion with the auxlliary verb "may".


Master 7320

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faqih 180

conclusion: maybe is used for informal spoken and perhaps is used for formal spoken


Native 7610

Maybe and perhaps have the same meaning, but maybe is used mainly in spoken English and informal writing. In more formal English, perhaps is far more common:

Now, maybe I haven’t explained myself very well. There are, perhaps, three principles which must be followed.


What About Possibly and Likely?

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