If someone asks you a question, for example:


What is a natural way to say "maybe"?

I am familiar with various ways to express uncertainty:


However I think none of these may sound too natural, or at least express the same light(?) feeling of English "maybe".

The best I can think of is:


Is there anything else that would fit here to express uncertainty?


Sounds stiff to me.


Sounds too rude.

1 Answer 1


This doesn't directly address the word "maybe", but a very Japanese answer would be

まー、行けたら行く。 → I'll go if I'm able.

Like "maybe", this gives the impression that you more than likely won't be able to go. Also note that most of the time, to a Japanese person this is just a polite, indirect way of saying "no"; the same way 難しい usually means "no" and not actually "it will be difficult".

  • Interesting, hadn't seen that one. By the way, I think different people may have different ideas about "maybe" in English. For example, I thought it was closer to a 50/50 chance, though it depends on their tone of voice.
    – Locksleyu
    Feb 1, 2017 at 22:37
  • Is the above expression commonly said just like that? I feel that maybe "行けたら、行くけど。。。” might be more common.
    – Locksleyu
    Feb 1, 2017 at 22:38
  • They might be with a "softener" like まぁ. Edited answer.
    – istrasci
    Feb 1, 2017 at 23:02

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