Have you heard of the song Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps? You probably have: it was covered by countless artists. But did you know that the original version is in Spanish, and is called Quizás, quizás, quizás?
Indeed, the correct way to say “perhaps” or “maybe” in Spanish is quizás, although… it’s not the only one! Perhaps you are wondering what those other ways of saying maybe in Spanish are. In this article, we will tell you all about them.
Maybe in Spanish at a Glance
All the Ways to Say “Maybe” in Spanish
Quizá vs quizás
Quizá and quizás are the two of the most common ways of translating “maybe” in Spanish. You’re probably wondering between quizás vs. quizá, which is the correct one? The answer is that both words can be used interchangeably! Although the Royal Spanish Academy considers the use of the first form, quizá to be more cultured, the second form, quizás is also accepted.
Fun fact: quizás comes from Latin, more precisely from the expression qui sapit, which means “who knows?” When we think of the word “maybe” we can definitely see a connection between the Latin root and the Spanish word. Now, let’s look at some examples:
- Acaban de decir en el noticiero que quizás mañana llueva.
- Quizás deberíamos salir temprano para evitar el tráfico.
- They just said on the news that it may rain tomorrow.
- Perhaps we should leave earlier to avoid traffic.
Another widely-used way of saying “maybe” in Spanish is tal vez . Tal vez can be used interchangeably with quizá and quizás. Let’s see some examples of the use of tal vez in Spanish sentences:
- Tal vez mañana podamos ir al cine.
- El problema, tal vez, es que trabajas demasiado.
- Maybe tomorrow we can go to the movies.
- The problem, perhaps, is that you work too much.
A lo mejor
Another way to say “maybe” in Spanish is by using the expression a lo mejor . However, beware! A lo mejor isn’t used exactly in the same way as quizás and tal vez. As you may know, the word mejor means “better”—therefore, a lo mejor means something like “in the best case”. In other words, it indicates the expectation of a favorable or pleasant circumstance. For example:
- Nadie me saludó por mi cumpleaños, ¡a lo mejor me están preparando una fiesta sorpresa!
- A lo mejor mañana será un día fantástico para ir a la playa.
- Nobody said happy birthday to me, maybe they are preparing a surprise party for me!
- Maybe tomorrow will be a fantastic day to go to the beach.
But don’t be too surprised if you see the expression a lo mejor in sentences where, clearly, a favorable circumstance is not expected. Sometimes, this expression can simply be a synonym for “maybe”:
- A lo mejor estás siendo demasiado pesimista.
- A lo mejor Claudia no vino al trabajo porque se enfermó.
- Maybe you are being too pessimistic.
- Maybe Claudia didn’t come to work because she got sick.
Posiblemente, puede and puede ser
In English, a synonym for “maybe” is “possibly”. The same thing is true in Spanish with its translation posiblemente .
- Posiblemente, las sequías son producto de la deforestación.
- ¿Estoy siendo un poco exagerado? Posiblemente.
- Possibly, droughts are a product of deforestation.
- Am I exaggerating? Possibly.
There are two expressions similar to “possibly”, and that come from the same root (the verb poder, “can” or “to be able to”). There are puede que and puede ser . These expressions could be considered translations of “it may” and “it may be”, respectively, and they are used interchangeably. So, in the phrase “It may be Pedro who knocked on the door”, we can use both puede que and puede ser to say the same thing
- Puede ser Pedro el que golpeó la puerta
- Puede que sea Pedro el que golpeó la puerta.
In addition to the widespread quizás and tal vez, there are other ways to say “maybe” in Spanish that are location-specific. For example, in countries like Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica or Uruguay, the expression capaz (Some Latin American Countries) (literally, “capable” or “able”) is used as a synonym for “maybe”
Capaz esta noche Patricia sale con sus amigas.
Maybe tonight Patricia goes out with her friends.
In Spain, they use the word igual (Spain), which literally means “same” or “equal”, to also mean “maybe”.
- Igual está demorado porque su tren no salió a tiempo.
- Maybe he’s late because his train didn’t leave on time.
This can be a bit confusing since in Latin America the word igual colloquially means something like “anyway”.
Who knew there are so many different ways of saying “maybe” in Spanish? If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, using the two most common maybes – tal vez and quizás (or quizá) – will more than get your point across.
When you are in a conversation with Spanish speakers and you feel ready, use other more colloquial expressions, such as a lo mejor, puede, puede ser and, why not, igual or capaz. ¡Puede que los sorprendas! 😉