Difference Between Might and Maybe (With Table)

‘Might’ and ‘Maybe’ are common words used by us in our day-to-day life. We use these words sometimes as a response, to give suggestions, or to hint at the possibility of a situation. Unknowingly we use these words in the wrong way. There can be one more confusion that can occur, which is Maybe or Maybe but remember these two words are different parts of speech.

For Example: Maybe that’s true, and that may be true are whole different sentences.

Here we will only look at ‘Might’ and ‘Maybe.’ There is always a situation where we need to pick which word will be appropriate in the sentence and will make the sentence sound polite. ‘Might’ and ‘Maybe’ are words with similar meanings. The question that comes to mind is “Which to choose?”.

Might vs Maybe

The difference between ‘Might’ and ‘Maybe’ is ‘Might’ is an auxiliary verb, whereas ‘Maybe’ is an adverb. Maybe generally states a positive form of the sentence. ‘Might’ is a conditional sentence. ‘Maybe’ specifies what is happening in the present.

‘Might’ is used to expressing a formal request or to take permission. It is often used to propose. This intimates that something will possibly happen or hold in the future or a particular situation, but you cannot be certain. This means the likelihood of happening something in the future is very low. A sentence can never start with might.

‘Maybe’ is a possible statement that holds to be true in the future. It has a possibility to a certain extent. The probability of the event is pretty high. The usage of maybe in the sentence makes it more polite. This can be used as a response to a statement.

Comparison Table Between Might and Maybe

Parameters Of ComparisonMightMaybe
Parts of speechVerbAdverb
UsageNot at the beginningAt the beginning
PossibilityLowHigh
ToneOccasionally informalPolite, formal
NumericalIt cannot be used with numbers. It can be used with numbers.

What is Might?

‘Might’ is the past tense of May. It is used in the sentences to express permission, liberty, probability, or possibility. ‘Might’ have different meaning in various sentences. It is even used to showcase bodily strength or a person’s capability. It refers to a hypothetical or possible event but very unlikely to happen.

This word is less common in American English. The usage of might can vary depending on the sentence. It hints that the probability of something happening is a pretty low or smaller chance. The use of might cannot be done at the beginning of the sentence. Might in the sentence sounds fine, but it does not make the sentence polite. The use of might in the sentence is to persuade someone for something with a small irritation level which has become quite old-fashioned nowadays.

This is used to show possibility.

For example,  She might be walking to the office.

A positive form of a sentence.

For Example, He might sell the shop for money.

The negative form of a sentence.

For Example, There might not be anyone in the house.

For Example, The letters might not have been meant for you.

This is used when a person gives a suggestion.

For Example, You might try the pineapple cake.

In the above example, it is clearly defined that usage of might cannot be done at the beginning of the sentence.

What is Maybe?

‘Maybe’ is an adverb. ‘Maybe’ is used in the sentences to show happening or to prove something is true. It is even used to show approximation. The usage of this word makes the sentences nice. This can be told when you want to evade giving a clear answer to any question. The equivalents of ‘Maybe’ are perhaps, possibly, mayhaps, peradventure, and many more. 

‘Maybe’ makes a sentence sound polite. ‘Maybe’ can even be utilized as a response to a question when you are partially admitting to the question.

This is used to show the possibility.

For example, She will maybe go to the gym.

For Example: Maybe my mother will drive us to the party.

For Example: Maybe his father favored boys.

This is used to show uncertainty.

For Example, There are maybes involved in the stock market.

This is used in suggestions.

For Example: Maybe you should take the bus to go to the office. (suggestion)

‘Maybe’ can be used anywhere in the sentence, as seen in the above examples.

Main Differences Between Might and Maybe

  1. ‘Might’ and ‘Maybe’ are different parts of speech in which ‘Might’ is a verb and on the other hand, ‘Maybe’ is an adverb.
  2. ‘Maybe’ can be used at the beginning of the sentence, whereas ‘Might’ cannot be used at the beginning of the sentence.
  3. In ‘Maybe,’ the sentence makes it polite on the other hand, ‘Might’ is used to persuade a person with a little bit of irritation.
  4. ‘Maybe’ can be used as a response to a question, but ‘Might’ cannot be used as a response.
  5. ‘Maybe’ is used in suggestion, whereas ‘Might’ cannot be used in suggestion.

Conclusion

The words ‘Might’ and ‘Maybe’ have their own differences, which makes their usage in the sentence vary. Both words are used for possibility, but the probability of the possibility is different. The meaning at first may sound similar, but if you go deeper, the meaning of both the word will be clarified.

Both words have similarities as both are used in possibility. It differs in some points, especially the probability of the event, which can be low or high. The usage of words can make communication more polite and versatile. The conversation becomes good and valuable. Wise use of these words defines a person’s attitude and delineates the person’s way of communication.

References

  1. https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/9783110879032.198/html
  2. https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s11712-009-9126-9.pdf
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