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In the song Tonight Again, there's a line going

They may be right but only maybe

I understand that "maybe" is an adverb, while "may be" is a combination of the verbs "may" and "be", as mentioned in this question. However, is there any difference in the degree of certainty between the two, as might be suggested by the "but only"?

  • Its merely an emphasiser. 'They may be right. But only maybe.' = 'They may be right.', in cases where context demands that the 'may' is being stressed to highlight the uncertainty. – Edwin Ashworth May 30 '15 at 8:19
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I wouldn't say there is.

Consider:

There's a chance they are right, but only a chance.

The but only is just highlighting the lack of absolute certainty. It doesn't imply any difference in probability between the two cases.

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