The French word "Peut-être" revealed

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!

Oh and you can find more of these words pages on this page and the complete directory of all our French words pages on this page. C’est parti ! (Let’s go!)

Table of Contents

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French to English

Pronunciation

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does peut-être mean?

Definition

The literal meaning is:

  • Peut → (It) can
  • Être → Be

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!

How to use it

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).

Synonyms

  • Peut-être bien. (“Maybe so“)
  • Peut-être que oui (“Maybe so“)
  • Peut-être bien que oui (“Maybe so“)
  • Possible. (“Possible“)
  • Possiblement. (“Possibly“)
  • C’est possible. (“It’s possible“)
  • C’est tout à fait possible. (“It’s completely possible“)
  • Éventuellement. (“Eventually“)
  • Ça se peut. (“That could be“)
  • Ça se pourrait (bien). (“That might be“)
  • P’t-être. (“Maybe“)(Informal, pronounced: “Ptetr“)
  • P’t-êt. (“Maybe“)(Informal, pronounced: “Ptet“)
  • p-e. (“Maybe“)(Texting)

And some antonyms:

  • Peut-être pas. (“Maybe not“)
  • Peut-être que non. (“Maybe not“)
  • Sûrement pas. (“Surely not“)
  • Certainement pas. (“Certainly not“)
  • Probablement pas. (“Probably not“)

Everyday life dialogue example

Audio dialogue from French people

Dialogue audio

Dialogue transcription

” Je vais au restaurant, ça te dit ? “
” I’m going to the restaurant, up for it? “
” Peut-être, je vais y réfléchir “
” Maybe, I will think about it “
” D’accord, fais ce que tu veux “
” Ok, do whatever you want “
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