Monday, November 25, 2013

You May Be Right (But You're Not)

A pull-quote, which is a short text passage pulled from an article and quoted in a larger typeface, is a common design element in magazines and newspapers. It's used to add visual interest, emphasize a portion of text or draw the reader's attention.

This pull-quote about Tiger Woods in Sports Illustrated certainly drew my attention. Maybe it'll appeal to you, too. I may be wrong.

In the (altered) words of Billy Joel...

You may be right
I may be crazy
But it just may be a "may be" you're looking for

In the body of the article (see image below), Sports Illustrated was as accurate as a Tiger Woods drive circa 2000, using may be. The magazine shanked its pull-quote, however, changing may be to maybe.

When do we use maybe? When do we use may be? It can be tricky, but maybe we can fix that.

Maybe (one word) is an adverb meaning perhaps. If you can substitute the word perhaps, maybe is the right choice. 

May be is a two-word verb phrase showing possibility. It's similar to "might be."


1. Maybe I'll ask Jennifer Love Hewitt out on a date. Maybe she'll say yes. (Editor's note: We could substitute perhaps for maybe in both spots.)

2. I may be upset if she turns me down. She may be making a big mistake. (Editor's note: We could substitute "might be" for may be in both spots.)

Has this helped? Yes? No? Maybe?

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