Lesson 23 may be / maybe

Choose the correct answers:

  1. It __________ (may be, maybe) snowy tomorrow.
  2. It __________ (may be, maybe) snowing right now. Open the curtain to take a look!
  3. __________ (May be, Maybe) it will snow tomorrow.


“May be” and “maybe” sound the same, and they both mean “probably” or “perhaps”. However, they are totally different in their grammatical function in sentences.

“may be” (2 words): modal “may” + verb “be” = complete verb of the sentence

“may be + verb-ing (3 words): modal “may” + verb “be + verb-ing” = complete verb of the sentence

“maybe” (one word) is an adverb, and there must be a verb somewhere in the sentence.

  • In Sentence #1, “may be” is the complete verb of the sentence, indicating future possibility.
  • In Sentence #2, “may be snowing” is the complete verb of the sentence, indicating present possibility.
  • In sentence #3, helping verb “will” + verb “snow” = complete verb (will snow). “Maybe” is an adverb. The whole sentence also indicates future possibility.
  • Sentence #1 and #3 have a similar meaning.



  1. __________ (May be, Maybe) the storm is coming earlier than expected.
  2. The store __________ (may be, maybe) coming earlier than expected.
  3. The rain __________ (may be, maybe) good for the lawn.




may be; may be; Maybe

Maybe; may be; may be