How to use かもしれない/かも ( = kamo shirenai / kamo)

Devon:「明日、デートしようよ。」
 
= Ashita, deeto shiyouyo.
 
= Let’s go on a date tomorrow.
 
Navi:「明日は、無理かもしれない。」
 
= Ashita wa, muri kamo shirenai.
 
= I think it could be difficult tomorrow. 
 
Devon:「ひょっとして僕、世界で一番かわいいかも…」
 
= Hyottoshite boku, sekai de ichiban kawaii kamo…
 
= (I might be wrong but) I could be the cutest in the world. 
 
 

Hi everyone!
 
Today’s guest teachers are Navi-Sensei and Devon-Sensei.
 
They volunteered to be our guest teachers one year ago. 
 
(FYI, if your doggies or kittens or other non-human friends want to be our guest teachers, send the
 
pictures from About Us page. ) 
 
***
 
みなさん、こんにちは!DevonとNaviです。
 
= Minasan, konnichiwa! Devon to Navi desu.
 
= Hello everyone! Devon and Navi are here.
 
今日は、「かもしれない」の使い方を教えますよ。
 
= Kyou wa, “kamo shirenai” no tsukaikata wo oshiemasu yo.
 
= We will teach you how to use “kamo shirenai” 
 
 
 :i: 〜かもしれません ( = kamo shiremasen) formal   /  かもしれない ( = kamo shirenai)
 
( You usually write this in kana but this is the kanji:
 
 :rrrr: かも知れません/ かも知れない
 
= kamo shiremasen /  kamo shirenai
 
★How to form:
 
* verb  (present tense/past tense/progressive form ) + かもしれません / かもしれない ( = kamo shiremasen/ shirenai)
 
* 行くかもしれません/ しれない
 
= iku kamo shiremasen / shirenai. 
 
might go
 
→ negative form:
 
* 行かないかもしれませんしれない
 
= ikanai kamo shiremasen / shirenai.
 
= might not go
 
past:
 
* 行ったかもしれませんしれない
 
= itta kamo shiremasen / shirenai.
 
= might have gone
 
past negative:
 
* 行かなかったかもしれませんしれない
 
= ikanakatta kamo shiremasen / shirenai.
 
= might not have gone 
 
present progressive:
 
* 勉強しているかもしれませんしれない
 
= benkyou shiteiru kamo shiremasen / shirenai. 
 
= might be studying
 
negative form:
 
* 勉強していないかもしれませんしれない
 
= benkyou shite inai kamo shiremasen / shirenai. 
 
= might not be studying
 
negative past perfect: 
 
* 勉強していなかったかもしれませんしれない
 
= benkyou shite inakatta kamo shiremasen / shirenai. 
 
= might not have been studying
 
* nounかもしれませんしれない ( = kamo shiremasen/  shirenai)
 
* かもしれませんしれない  🐶
 
= inu kamo shiremasen / shirenai. 
 
= might be a dog
 
negative form:
 
* 犬ではないかもしれません/ しれない
 
= Inu de wa nai kamo shiremasen / shirenai. 
 
= might not be a dog
 
(more casual)
 
犬じゃないかもしれません/ しれない
 
= Inu ja nai kamo shiremasen / shirenai. 
 
= might not be a dog
 
past:
 
* 犬だったかもしれません/ しれない
 
= Inu datta kamo shiremasen/ shirenai.
 
= could be a dog / might be a dog
 
past negative
 
* 犬ではなかったかもしれません/ しれない
 
=  inu dewa nakatta kamo shiremasen / shirenai. 
 
 (more casual)
 
犬じゃなかったかもしれません/ しれない
 
= inu ja nakatta kamo shiremasen / shirenai. 
 
= might not have been a dog
 
*adjective +かもしれませんしれない ( = kamo shiremasen/shirenai)
 
 :ii: i-adjecitve 
 
* 忙しいかもしれませんしれない
 
= isogashii kamo shiremasen / shirenai. 
 
= might be busy
 
* 忙しくないかもしれませんしれない
 
= isogashiku nai kamo shiremasen / shirenai. 
 
= might not be busy
 
past tense:
 
* 忙しかったかもしれませんしれない
 
= isogashikatta kamo shiremasen.
 
= might have been busy
 
past negative:
 
* 忙しくなかったかもしれませんしれない 
 
= isogashiku nakatta kamo shiremasen / shirenai.
 
= might have not been busy
 
 :kkk: na-adjetive 
 
有名かもしれませんしれない
 
= yuumei kamo shiremasen / shirenai. 
 
= might be famous 
 
:rrrr: negative form:
 
有名ではないかもしれませんしれない
 
= yuumei dewa nai kamo shiremasen / shirenai
 
= might not be famous
 
 (more casual)
 
= 有名じゃないかもしれませんしれない
 
= yuumei janai kamo shireamsen/shirenai
 
= might not like ~ 
 
past :
 
有名だったかもしれませんしれない
 
= yuumei datta kamo shiremasen/ shirenai.
 

past negative

 
有名ではなかっかもしれませんしれない
 
= yuumei dewa nakatta kamo shiremasen/ nakatta kamo shirenai
 
(more casual)
 
有名じゃなかったかもしれませんしれない
 
= yuumei ja nakatta kamo shiremasen/ shirenai
 
= might not have been famous
 
 
****
 
When to use:
 
1) *When you are talking about some possibilities: might / could / maybe 
* When you are guessing / assuming what will happen in future / what is happening now / have happened in past 
 
Ex. 明日は雨かもしれない。☔️
 
= Ashita wa ame kamo shirenai.
 
or
 
明日は雨が降るかもしれない
 
= Ashita wa ame ga furu kamo shirenai.
 
= It might rain tomorrow.
 
The speaker is not sure but guessing from what they see/ have heard. 
 
Note: Weather reporters don’t say  かもしれない ( = kamo shirenai) when they forecast the weather.
 
They say: 
 
 明日は、雨が降るでしょう。☔️
 
= Ashita wa, ame ga furu deshou.
 
You wouldn’t say this in daily conversation. 
 
From the picture above:
 
Devon:「明日、デートしようよ。」
 
= Ashita, deeto shiyouyo.
 
= Let’s go on a date tomorrow.
 
Navi:「明日は、無理かもしれない。」
 
= Ashita wa, muri kamo shirenai.
 
= I think it could be difficult tomorrow. 
 
You sometimes add もしかしたら ( = moshika shitara) / ひょっとしたら ( = hyotto shitara) before the sentence when you emphasize the possibilities. 
 
Ex. ひょっとしたら来年、日本に行くかもしれない
 
= Hyotto shitara rainen, nihon ni iku kamo shirenai.
 
= There is a possibility that I might go to Japan next year.
 
Ex. もしかしたら*茜は司君のことが好きかもしれない
 
= Moshikashitara Akane wa Tsukasa-kun no koto ga sukikamo shirenai.
 
= I could be wrong but (I think) Akane might like Tsukasa.
 
Ex. このレッスンはみんなには簡単かもしれません
 
= Kono ressun wa minna niwa kantan kamo shiremasen.
 
= This lesson might be easy for everyone.
 
Ex. マギー先生は厳しすぎたかもしれない
 
= Maggie sensei wa kibishi sugitta kamo shirenai.
 
= Maggie sensei might have been too strict.
 
Ex.この本は息子には難しいかもしれない
 
= Kono hon wa musuko niwa muzukashii kamo shirenai.
 
= This book might be difficult for my son.
 
Ex. 彼、付き合っている人がいるかもしれない
 
= Kare, tsukiatte iru hito ga iru kamo shirenai.
 
= He might be seeing someone.
 
Ex. 飲み会に行ったら彼女が怒るかもしれない
 
= Nomikai ni ittara  kanojo ga okoru kamo shirenai.
 
= If I go to the drinking party, my girlfriend might be upset.
 
Ex. 冷蔵庫にまだビールが2、3本入っているかもしれない
 
= Reizouko ni mada biiru ga ni, san bon haitte iru kamo shirenai.
 
= There might be a couple more beer in the refrigerator.
 
Ex. 明日、熱が出るかもしれません。
 
= Ashita, netsu ga deru kamo shiremasen.
 
= I might have a fever tomorrow.
 
(Giving someone a present) 
 
Ex. もう持っているかもしれないけど、どうぞ!🎁
 
= Mou motte iru kamo shirenai kedo, douzo!
 
= You might already have one but here you are.
 
Ex. 家に食べるものがなにもないかもしれないから何か買って帰ろう。
 
= Ie ni taberu mono ga nanimo nai kamo shirenai kara nanika katte kaerou.
 
= There might be nothing to eat at home so I should buy something before I go home.
 
Ex. 円が上がるかもしれないから今のうちに少し両替した方がいいよ。
 
= En ga agaru kamo shirenai kara ima no uchi ni ryougae shitahou ga iiyo.
 
= The yen might go up so you should change money some now.
 
Ex. 彼はもう寝たかもしれない
 
= Kare wa mou neta kamo shirenai.
 
= He might have gone to sleep already.
 
Ex. どちらにしても昨日はいけなかったかもしれない
 
= Dochirani shite mo kinou wa ikenakatta kamo shirenai.
 
= I might have not been able to go yesterday anyway.
 
Ex. 誰か私達の会話を聞いていたかもしれない
 
= Dare ka watashitachi no kaiwa wo kiite ita kamo shirenai.
 
= Someone might have listened to our conversation.
 
2) You sometimes drop しれない ( = shirenai) in conversation. 
 
Ex. もう郵便局閉まっているかも
 
= Mou yuubinkyoku shimatte iru kamo…
 
= The post office might be closed by now.
 
Ex. お金が少し足りないかも
 
= Okane ga sukoshi tarinai kamo…
 
= There might not be enough money…
 
Ex. もう誰もいないかも
 
= Mou dare mo inai kamo.
 
= Everybody might have already left. 
 
Ex. 確か、そんなこと言ってたかも
 
= Tashika, sonna koto itteta kamo.
 
= If my memory serves correctly, he/she might have said something like that. 
 
Ex. 明日なら空いているかも
 
= Ashita nara aite iru kamo.
 
= I might be free tomorrow. 
 
3) Colloquial usage of かも ( = kamo)
 
You use かも ( = kamo) when you express your feelings / opinions in a subtle way.
 
When you like someone, you say
 
Ex. 望のことが好き。
 
= Nozomi no koto ga suki.
 
= I like Nozomi.
 
 :rrrr:  I am not sure what this feeling is but I think I like Nozomi
 
 :rrrr: Ex. 望のことが好きかも
 
= Nozomi no koto ga suki kamo….
 
Like I have mentioned in many past lessons, Japanese people tend to avoid straight forward communication.
 
By adding かも ( = kamo) you can suggest your feelings in a subtle way. 
 
When your friend asks you to do something, you can say: 
 
難しいなあ
 
= Muzukashii naa
 
= I think it’s difficult. 
 
but it will sound softer if you say:  
 
Ex. ちょっと難しいかも
 
= Chotto muzukashii kamo.
 
= It is kinda difficult. / It could be difficult. / This might be a little difficult. 
 
That sounds much softer. 
 
It may get annoying if you overuse it but I will show you more examples.
 
For example, when you see a delicious looking piece of cake, you say:
 
Ex. 美味しそう 🎂
 
= Oishisou
 
= It looks delicious. 
 
When you actually have a bite of it and tastes it, you say
 
美味しい 😋
 
= Oishii
 
= It’s delicious.
 
You might hear young people say:
 
美味しいかも
 
= Oishii kamo
 
even after they taste it. 
 
The literal meaning is “This might be delicious.” but colloquially it also means “It tastes good.”
 
Ex 少し太ったかも
 
= Sukoshi futotta kamo…
 
= I might be putting on some weight.
 
Ex. 私、知ってるかも….(  ( = watashi)  in this sentence sounds  feminine. ) 
 
= Watashi, shitteru kamo…
 
= I might know why / the reason. 
 
Ex. このゲーム面白いかも
 
= Kono geemu omoshiroi kamo.
 
= This game is kinda fun.
 
When someone suggest something.
 
Ex. それいいかも
 
= Sore iikamo
 
= Sounds good! / That’s a good idea! 
 
Ex.いける*かも
 
= Ikeru kamo.
 
= That might be working! / It is kinda cool. 
 
(* いける = ikeru = is a slang word which means “cool” / “ something works” / “great”)
 
Ex. そうかもしれない
 
= Sou kamo shirenai.
 
= Maybe it’s true. / That could be true. / It could be right. / You might be right. 
 
Colloquial way:
 
そうかも
 
= Soukamo
 
You can attach suffix  ( = ne) / (  = na) male speech 
 
そうかもね。
 
= Sou kamo ne. 
 
 →そうかもな。(male speech)
 
= Soukamo na. 
 
= You could be right. / That could be right. 
 
In casual Japanese, some just say: 
 
かもね。
 
= Kamo ne. / kamona 
 
かもな ( male speech)
 
= Kamona 
 
= You may be right. / Right. / True. / That’s possible.
 
It shows that you are agree with what you just heard lightly or 
 
 :n: From the picture above:
 
Devon:「ひょっとして僕、世界で一番かわいいかも…」
 
= Hyottoshite boku, sekai de ichiban kawaii kamo…
 
= ( I might be wrong but) I could be the cutest in the world. 
 
Navi might say to Devon 
 
かもね。」😉
 
= Kamone.
 
= Maybe you are right. 
 
**
マギー先生より = Maggie Sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei
 
Devon先生、Navi先生、ありがとう!
 
= Devon Sensei, Navi Sensei, arigatou!
 
= Thank you, Devon Sensei and Navi Sensei.
 
私は世界で2番目にかわいい犬かも
 
= Watashi wa sekai de nibanme ni kawaii inu kamo.
 
= I might be the second cutest dog in the world.
 
***

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6 Comments

  1. レッスンはありがとうございました、マギー先生!
    私はこれから間違いを少なくするかもしれません。:-P

    1. どういたしまして!
      (間違いを少なくするかもしれません→ Ah… it’s a bit difficult but how about これからあまり間違えなくなるかもしれません。 😉)

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