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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Grammar in Action – Maybe vs May Be

Learning when to use the word maybe versus when to use the words may be really isn't that hard once you understand their meanings, yet this is a common mistake I find when proofing transcripts. Maybe is an adverb meaning possibly. May be is a verb that means is possible. So substituting these two definitions when you're transcribing is an excellent way to tell which word(s) to use. This trick won't always work, but it should point you in the right direction.

It may be that she should listen to her mother.

Maybe he should wear the blue shirt.

Here's a great example from a recent transcript where they're both used in the same sentence. It's also a good example of a sentence where the above substitution trick won't work.

"All right, now, I'm going to share with you some language that maybe you may be familiar with or have read or have seen."