Grammar Info

N2 Lesson 1: 23/23


Won't, Intend not to, Probably not



Verb + まい
Verb[ます+ まい


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About まい

The auxiliary verb まい is used in Japanese to express negative volition. This means that in many ways, it is the opposite of う and よう, which are the auxiliary verbs that express positive volition. まい connects to the base form of verbs, and is considered slightly formal.
まい may be translated as 'won't (A)', 'to intend not to (A)', or 'probably not (A)'. It can be considered as a condensed way of expressing ~ないだろう.
  • あんな接客(せっきゃく)(ざつ)なレストランにはもう()まい
    I probably won't go back to that restaurant with such poor customer service.
  • あのアパートの家賃(やちん)(たか)いので、あそこには()まい
    The rent for that apartment is expensive, so I probably won't live there.
Caution - When appearing with する or ()る, it is also common to see まい connected to the conjunctive form as しまい, すまい, きまい and こまい. However, the standard するまい and ()るまい are also quite common structures.
  • 田中(たなか)くんはとてもいい人なので、そんなひどい(こと)はしまい
    Since Tanaka-kun is a nice person, he probably wouldn't do such a terrible thing.
  • 台風(たいふう)警報(けいほう)()ているので、今日(きょう)(じゅう)(とど)くはずだった荷物(にもつ)はこまい
    Since there was a warning announced for the typhoon, I probably won't get the package that I was expecting today.




    Because I drank too much last night, I don't intend to drink ever again.


    Because it is Tuesday, there probably won't be many people at that dance club.


    Judging from the appearance of this car, it is probably not cheap.


    I caused the terrible grievances. I intend not to fail again.


    The line at that shop is too crazy. I probably won't go again.

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まい – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (10 in total)

  • Fuga


    Hey there! This one could be hard because they have a very similar translation. The biggest difference between the two is the nuance. They both are used for assumptions, but まい has a stronger nuance of ‘probably not…’. まい is often used when the speaker is not so certain or confident about something. In contrast to this, はずがない is used when the speaker is more confident about their assumption.

    For example:
    もう失敗するまい。‘I intend not to fail again.’ The nuance this has is ‘I don’t intend to fail again, but I might fail.’ (Very little confidence)

    もう失敗するはずがない。‘It is very unlikely that I will fail again.’ When はずがない is used, it shows that the speaker is very confident that they would not fail again, but at the same time, not dismissing the fact that they might fail.

    I hope that this explanation helps you understand the difference!

  • dokidokiwakuwaku


    Very helpful, thank you!

  • dokidokiwakuwaku


    Sorry, one more question–how would this point differ from つもりはない?

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