Get prepared to discover all the things you have to know about the basic French word “Peut-être”.
More precisely, it includes a detailed explanation of what it is and how you can use it in a normal conversation with an audio example. As well as the cool things we sprinkled like dialogue example, slow pronunciation audio, synonym and more!
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: