Wild Nihongo!


かもしれない Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Auxiliary Adjective

Essential Meaning: Perhaps / X may be the case


  • (Verb / い-Adjective) informal + かもしれない
    • E.g. べるかもしれない [Perhaps X eats]
    • E.g. はなすかもしれない [Perhaps X speaks]
  • (な-Adjective Stem / Noun) + [X / だった] + かもしれない
    • E.g. しずかかもしれない [Perhaps X is quiet]
    • E.g. 先生せんせいかもしれない [Perhaps X is a teacher]


  • かもしれない is an auxiliary adjective that is used to express a very low level of certainty about some proposition. On a scale of certainty, にちがいない is highly certain, だろう is moderately certain, and かもしれない is not at all certain. In English, にちがいない, だろう, and かもしれない roughly equate to ”Certainly“, “Probably“, and “Perhaps“, respectively.
  • かもしれない is used when the speaker’s conjecture is based on logical reasoning. When a speaker’s conjecture is instead based on physical or perceptual evidence, そうだ (Conjecture) should be used instead.
    • E.g. このケーキは美味おいしいかもしれない。[This cake may be delicious, perhaps.] The use of かもしれない implies that the speaker’s impression of the cake is not based on perceptual evidence; it is based on some sort of logic or reasoning. For example, the speaker may presume that the cake is delicious based on the fact that it is expensive.
    • E.g. このケーキは美味おいしそうです。[This cake looks good.] The use of そうだ (Conjecture) implies that the speaker’s impression of the cake is based on sensory evidence (e.g. smell or taste).

Example Sentences:

午後ごごあめるかもしれない。[It may rain in the evening.]

あの先生せんせい授業じゅぎょうはつまらないかもしれない。[That teacher’s lessons may be boring.]

京都きょうとさくらはまだきれいかもしれない。[Perhaps Kyoto’s cherry blossoms are still beautiful.]

今年ことしふゆ大変たいへんさむくなるかもしれない。[This winter will perhaps be very cold.]

この映画えいがはあなたにはつまらないかもしれない。[This movie may be boring for you.]

中国語ちゅうごくご文法ぶんぽう日本語にほんご文法ぶんぽうより簡単かんたんかもしれない。[Perhaps Chinese grammar is easier than Japanese grammar.]

あれは鈴木すずき先生せんせいかもしれないよ。[That may be Suzuki-sensei.]

WILD Examples:

Listen to this line at 0:39: 今日きょう最期さいごかもしらないんだ [Perhaps today is my last]

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