A sentence

There is a sentence in the text:

“We talk about things which may be true, or may not be true.”

May I say “We talk about things which may be true, or may be not true” or it will be a mistake?

Hi Sv,

It does not sound natural to say the last part of your sentence as you have written it. The way it is written in the original text is correct.

Jillisa :slight_smile:

Tanks Jillisa. Because my version is used in Russian too. We’re using both of variants. Therefore I asked about it :slight_smile:

“Maybe” and “may be” can be confusing. Have a look at these examples:

That may be true. That may not be true.
That maybe is true. That maybe isn’t true.
Maybe that’s true. Maybe that isn’t true.

Thanks a lot for help, Jeff. But now I’m so involved in these expressions. I hope, I’ll understand it some day… :))))

From the Russian I know, “мохет быть” is used both as “maybe/perhaps” and “can be/may be” and therefore you have to be careful when you use that expression in English. For “maybe” you don’t split the word, but you have to do so for “may be” (especially when adding adverbs like “not”, “always”, “never”, “usually” et.c.), so “may (not) be”.

Read, listen and pay attention. Hopefully it will stick someday. :slight_smile:

OK, thanks again, Jeff. Just in Russian it sounds like “может быть” ;))))

You are right, Jeff. In Russian there is no difference between “maybe/perhaps” and “can be/may be”. Both are translated as “может быть”.

@jeff_lindqvist and @Alex_Gur
While “может быть” can be used for both “may be” and “maybe”, there is also “быть может”, which always stands for “maybe” (as an adverb).

&eugrus, that’s right. “Быть может” there is an interesting word combination meaning only “maybe”.

The words “быть может” in Russian are put between two commas. For example:
“Я вас любил: любовь еще, быть может, в душе моей угасла не совсем”.

But in poems sometimes we use words “быть может” in the same meaning as “can be/may be”:
“Но не вечно правит тьма,
Надежда вновь жива с тобой.
И быть может эта тень
Умчится прочь”.