Almost every English grammar book I`ve studied claims that "Will" is used to talk about plans decided at the moment of speaking. Sentences like "I will help you" or "I'll wait for you" give a strong impression of spontaneity. My question is the following:

When modified with "Maybe" or "I think" , does "Will" convey the same meaning? Or perhaps it shifts the meaning into something that's more concidered and deliberate? Let me give you a few examples:

"I think I'll watch a movie this evening"


"Maybe I'll read a book"

Do those sentences sound like a plan made before or at the moment of speaking?

  • No, it does not have the same meaning. will can be intention, yes, And maybe just adds to the indeterminacy of the intention.
    – Lambie
    Nov 24, 2017 at 23:21
  • Those sentences sound fine. If, all of a sudden, I thought to read to watch a movie or read a book, I would say, "I think I'll watch a movie (or read a book)" or "Maybe I'll watch a movie now (or read the book now)" or "I think I'll do this now or that now (or maybe later)."
    – Nick
    Nov 25, 2017 at 1:03
  • Both of these sentences are fine and mean that you have already made a plan but you’re not sure whether you are going to carry out that plan. It’s also worth noting that ‘I think’ carries a higher probability of you carrying out the plan than ‘maybe’. Many websites say that ‘maybe’ implies a weak probability of 50% or less. google.com.sg/amp/s/learningenglish.voanews.com/amp/…
    – danielloid
    Nov 25, 2017 at 2:50

1 Answer 1


Plain X will Y is used to talk about X happening the future, where it's expected X to happen. I will X is often used to communicate one's plans or intents.

This can be modified with other words.

Maybe A B means A may or may not B. So, for example, maybe I will go to the store means I may or may not go to the store.

It's uncommittal, you would say maybe if you are not sure or don't want to say yes or no.

I think A B has several meanings:

  • If A is not I, it means I believe A B - you are expressing something you believe is true but haven't necessarily verified. I think John is at the park means you believe John is at the park, but you are leaving open the possibility you may be wrong or that the situation has changed.

  • If A is I, it means the same as maybe A B but with a stronger emphasis on may versus may not. I think I will go to the park means you are more likely than not to go to the park, but there is still a possibility you won't go to the park.

    • This is also used as part of an idiomatic expression communicate you want to do something instead of something else. This often has a slight tone of sarcasm.

      • Do you want to go to the park? No, I think I will read a book instead.

Yes, I might X is equivalent to maybe I will X.

I may X is often synonymous but can carry an implication that permission is needed for X. Might implies that permission is not needed or is already obtained.

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