Grammar Info

N4 Lesson 4: 1/18

かもしれない

Might, Maybe, Probably

Colloquial: かも or かもしらん, Polite: かもしれません

Structure

Verb + かもしれない
[い]Adjective + かもしれない
[な]Adjective + かもしれない
Noun + かもしれない

Details

  • Register

    Standard

  • 使用域

    一般

About かもしれない

かもしれない is an expression in Japanese that is often treated as a single word, but is actually the combination of the particle かも, and the potential form of the う-Verb ()る (to know) with the auxiliary verb ない attached. かもしれない is regularly translated simply as 'might', or 'maybe', but the literal translation is much closer to 'even (A), we cannot know'.
To use かもしれない, attach it to the end of any verb, noun, な-Adjective or い-Adjective, in their non-polite (keigo) forms.
  • 来年(らいねん)から観光客(かんこうきゃく)()かもしれない
    From next year, the number of tourists might increase.
  • あの建物(たてもの)教会(きょうかい)かもしれない
    That building might be a church.
  • 今日(きょう)無理(むり)かもしれない
    It might not be possible today.
  • そこ(いけ)(ふか)かもしれないから()()
    That lake over there might be deep, so please be careful.
As the う-Verb ()る is part of this construction, it may also be altered to its polite-potential form, creating かもしれません.
  • 明日(あした)(やす)かもしれません
    I might take the day off tomorrow.
Due to かもしれない being such a common grammar pattern in daily speech for expressing uncertainty about various things, several colloquial forms also exist. These are かも, かもしらん, and かもしれん.
  • 明日(あした)(やす)だからドライブするかも
    I have a day off tomorrow, so I might go for a drive.
  • 財布(さいふ)(いえ)(わす)てきかもしらん
    I might have left my wallet at home.
  • 明日(あした)(よる)(おそ)まで仕事(しごと)があるから()ないかもしれん
    I have to work late tomorrow night, so I probably won’t go.
かも is by far the most common of these colloquial forms, with かもしらん potentially sounding a little bit rough/boyish.

Examples

  • 来年(らいねん)アメリカ()かもしれない

    I might go to America next year.

  • このいい(ふく)()えば人気(にんき)になるかもしれない

    If I buy these nice clothes, then I might become popular.

  • そのこと()わないほうがいいかもしれない

    It is maybe better to not say such things.

  • そうかも

    That might be right.

  • (かれ)(なに)調(しら)ないで日本(にほん)()かもしれない

    He might go to Japan without researching anything.

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かもしれない – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (8 in total)

  • Superpnut

    Superpnut

    About 1 year ago

    I recently got a review on this and received an useless hint.

    Question was そのことを言わないほうがいい — to which I put in から
    The blue hint text was : Maybe

    I received this:

    maybe846×326 14...
  • wrt7MameLZE33wlmpCAV

    wrt7MameLZE33wlmpCAV

    About 1 year ago

    I have a feeling that nuance hint is shown for any example sentence of this grammar point. It’s an unfortunate incongruity in this case. かな can in fact mean “maybe,” but usually in the context of thinking to oneself. For instance,

    晩飯はピザを食べようかな。

    Maybe I’ll eat pizza for dinner; or, I think I’ll eat pizza for dinner

    かな and かもしれない aren’t synonymous, though. かな expresses doubt, reflection, or wishful thinking. かもしれない expresses the potential for something being or not being a certain way. Also, I don’t think you would generally use かな when making a suggestion to another.

    But your point about the nuance note is cogent. I suggest using the Report button in the lower right-hand corner (it shows up when you get the answer wrong) whenever you find things like this to help draw awareness to the issue so the staff can correct it.

  • X11

    X11

    About 3 months ago

    the literal translation is much closer to ‘even (A), we cannot know’. should it not be "perhaps it’s not able to be known as かも means perhaps? "

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