Get prepared to learn everything you ever wanted to know about the basic word “Peut-être”.
This include a detailed guide of what it is and how you can use it in a casual conversation with an audio example. But wait, we also sprinkled useful things like slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example and more!
In case you are interested, you will also find our others words explained on this page and the complete directory of all our French words guides on this page. Ready to learn? C’est parti ! (Let’s go!)
The literal meaning is:
It’s the most famous French way to say “Maybe” or “Perhaps” or even “Possibly“.
We can use it in different ways as you will see in the next section. Also, don’t forget to check the “Synonyms” section below for all the variations of “Peut-être” you can use!
First, like in English, do not confuse the expression “Peut-être” with a hyphen which means “Maybe” and the group of words “Peut être” without hyphen which means “Can/May be“.
For example, if you want to say “He can/may be stupid sometimes” → “Il peut être bête parfois” (WITHOUT hyphen). But if you want to say “Maybe he is stupid” → “Peut-être qu’il est bête” (WITH hyphen)
The structure “Peut-être + que” is used very often when you want to precise what your “Maybe” is about.
Another structure is to put it at the end of your sentence to add uncertainty when you are not sure about your assumption or statement: “Elle ne voulait pas venir, peut-être” → “She didn’t want to come, maybe“.
Finally, you can use it as a standalone answer when you are unsure and can’t say “Yes” or “No“. For example, someone asks you “Tu viens ce soir ?” (Are you coming tonight?) but you don’t know yet, you can say: “Peut-être” (Maybe).
And some antonyms: