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I would like to know the difference between the words perchance and perhaps. I know that perchance is more literary, and a bit archaic, but that's not what I am after.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary lists perchance as a synonym of perhaps.

perchance

perhaps, possibly

The entry for perhaps.

perhaps

possibly but not certainly : maybe

I would like to know if the two words have any differences in meaning, tone, or connotation. Does perchance imply that an event is less likely than perhaps? Is the tone more wistful? Does it connote that an outcome is more desirable?

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I object to people who say that “perchance” is “outdated” or “archaic”. It is a perfectly good word in modern English, but it belongs to the literary or elevated register. “Perhaps” is also not very common in colloquial speech. The vernacular equivalent is “maybe”.

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    Good to find someone who champions the word. Sounds like the main difference is register? i.e. "perchance", "perhaps", and "maybe" are respectively literary, formal, and vernacular? – ktm5124 Mar 13 '17 at 21:34
  • It might be good to have some explanation from whoever it was that downvoted this. – fdb Mar 13 '17 at 23:05
  • Yes, I am surprised this was down voted. How unjust. – ktm5124 Mar 13 '17 at 23:11

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