Difference Between May and May Be


May vs May Be
 

May and May be are two words used in English language that show difference between them when it comes to their usage. The word may is generally used to ask for permission as well as to speak about possibility. On the other hand, may be is generally used in the sense of a ‘guess’. In other words, may be is used in the sense of might be, could be or would be. Sometimes, the two words are used in the suggestive sense; may is used, as mentioned before, to suggest possibility and may be is used to suggest presumption. This is the main difference between the two words, namely, may and may be.

What does May mean?

The word may is generally used to ask for permission. Look at the two sentences given below.

May I enter sir?

May I read it for you?

In both the sentences, the word may is used to ask for permission from someone. In the first sentence, permission is asked by someone to get into a classroom. Likewise, in the second sentence, permission is sought to read a letter on behalf of somebody else.

Sometimes, may is used to suggest that something is possible as in the sentences given below.

It may rain later today.

Robert may accompany us to the railway station.

In both the sentences, the word may is used to suggest that something is possible. In the first sentence, the possibility of raining later is suggested whereas, in the second sentence, the possibility of Robert accompanying the people of the family to the railway station is suggested.

Difference Between May and May Be

What does May Be mean?

The word may be is generally used in the sense of a ‘guess.’ In other words, may be is used in the sense of might be, could be or would be. May be is used to suggest presumption. Look at the two sentences given below.

He may be late tonight.

She may be absent for the meeting.

In both the sentences, the word may be is used to suggest presumption. In the first sentence, the speaker presumes that his friend can be late tonight. In the second sentence, the speaker presumes that she can be absent for the meeting. In other words, in both of these sentences, the speaker is guessing that something could be happening. In the first sentence, the speaker guesses someone could be late. In the second sentence, the speaker guesses that someone could be absent for the meeting.

In the expressions like ‘may be true’ and the like, the form ‘may be’ indicates the possibility of something being true.

What is the difference between May and May Be?

• The word may is generally used to ask for permission as well as to speak about possibility.

• On the other hand, may be is generally used in the sense of a ‘guess’. In other words, may be is used in the sense of might be, could be or would be.

• May be is used to suggest presumption.

These are the differences between the two words, namely, may and may be.

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