I've read this answer about the difference between “maybe” and “may be”. It contains the sentence “maybe he is in the office today” as a correct example.

In the above example “maybe” and “is” is separated by “he”, but when that's not the case I feel it is a bit weird:

“... as this maybe is an interesting subject”

Is it bad form to place a conjugation of “to be” after “maybe”? Is it better to use a synonym like “possibly”?

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    It's not wrong to use to be with maybe. I would change the position of this. Maybe this is an interesting subject.
    – David M
    Mar 24, 2014 at 19:25
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    Maybe can occur in most of the usual adverbial niches; though since it usually has a scope over the entire clause, it's most common at the beginning or end. Mar 24, 2014 at 19:29
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    Could you maybe be a bit more specific about why you think this sentence is "weird"? Mar 24, 2014 at 19:30
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    Coupling 'maybe' with 'be' itself in a string sounds a little unnatural to my ears: ? He will maybe be coming on Friday. A pair of commas helps, as does a switch to 'perhaps'. Mar 24, 2014 at 19:33
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    @ Bart: What can I say? If we're to believe Google Books, 14,500 writers will maybe be interested in knowing where they're going wrong. Mar 24, 2014 at 19:34

1 Answer 1


The reason "maybe" sounds awkward when followed by "be" or "is" or similar is that we semi-consciously perceive that the "maybe" wasn't needed in the first place. Your first example, "maybe he is in the office today”, is colloquial, but it would be more economical to say, "he may be in the office today". In the other case, "This maybe is an interesting subject", you can't even give it the blessing of being colloquial. It would sound clumsy to anyone. Much better to say, "This may be an interesting subject".

  • For reasons best know to themselves they have deleted my post, which as you pointed out says almost exactly the same as yours, preceding it by 14 hours. But never mind, such is all part of life's rich pattern.
    – WS2
    Mar 25, 2014 at 13:31

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