Maybe’ and ‘perhaps’ are interpreted in a Korean dictionary as “(used to ask or suggest something politely) if your situation permits, if it is possible - [my interpretations]” This could be make sense in my own language, and the two words can be interpreted as one Korean word, '가능하시면' (I'm not sure, but this can be equivalent to possibly or if possible) .’

A: Can you go shopping with me tomorrow?
B: I’m sorry. I have to visit my aunt.
A: Okay. Maybe next time. (From the Korean education radio, EBS)

In this case, does ‘maybe’ have the meaning as interpreted in the dictionary?


This usage is something like what your dictionary says.

I think the best way to explain it here is that "maybe" in this context is a softener. It makes the statement sound less emphatic, less like a command and more like a suggestion. "Maybe next time" is making an indefinite suggestion rather than definite plans, or even a more strongly voiced demand. It's hard to say that "Okay. Next time" would not also be a suggestion in this context, but "Maybe" makes it less demanding of one, and in other contexts, "Next time" could be seen as a promise or a threat, e.g.:

A: Did you bring back the book I loaned you? B: No, I'm sorry. A: [Maybe] Next time.

With "Maybe" this is pretty clearly a request, not a demand; but without "Maybe" and with the right tone of voice, "Next time" could be a more emphatic demand that suggests the person will be upset if it isn't satisfied.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .