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

= Ashita, deeto shiyouyo.
= Let’s go on a date tomorrow.
= Ashita wa, muri kamo shirenai.
= I think it could be difficult tomorrow. 
= 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. ) 
= Minasan, konnichiwa! Devon to Navi desu.
= Hello everyone! Devon and Navi are here.
= Kyou wa, “kamo shirenai” no tsukaikata wo oshiemasu yo.
= We will teach you how to use “kamo shirenai” 
🔸〜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
* 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
* 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)
🔸 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
🔸 na-adjetive 
= yuumei kamo shiremasen / shirenai. 
= might be famous 
:rrrr: negative form:
= 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 :
= yuumei datta kamo shiremasen/ shirenai.

past negative

= yuumei dewa nakatta kamo shiremasen/ nakatta kamo shirenai
(more casual)
= 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 the future / what is happening now / have happened in the past 
Ex. 明日は雨かもしれない。☔️
= Ashita wa ame kamo shirenai.
= 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: 
= Ashita wa, ame ga furu deshou.
You wouldn’t say this in daily conversation. 
From the picture above:
= Ashita, deeto shiyouyo.
= Let’s go on a date tomorrow.
= 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.
= 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 a 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 beers 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….
As I have mentioned in many past lessons, Japanese people tend to avoid straightforward 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: 
= 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 taste it, you say
美味しい 😋
= Oishii
= It’s delicious.
You might hear young people say:
= 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 suggests something.
Ex. それいいかも
= Sore iikamo
= Sounds good! / That’s a good idea! 
= 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:
= Soukamo
You can attach suffix  ( = ne) / (  = na) male speech 
= 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: 
= Kamo ne. / kamona 
かもな ( male speech)
= Kamona 
= You may be right. / Right. / True. / That’s possible.
It shows that you agree with what you just heard lightly or 
 :n: From the picture above:
= 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 
= Kamone.
= Maybe you are right. 
マギー先生より = Maggie Sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei
= Devon Sensei, Navi Sensei, arigatou!
= Thank you, Devon Sensei and Navi Sensei.
= Watashi wa sekai de nibanme ni kawaii inu kamo.
= I might be the second cutest dog in the world.

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  1. Hello Maggie-sensei!

    I had a question about this sentence:

    ‘アランの言うとおり, 幽霊なんていないのかもしれないね’
    Why is there a ‘no’ at’ inai no kamo shirenai’? What is the function of no there?

    1. Hi Wendy
      You can also say
      When it modifies a noun in this case とおり, you can change が to の
      I explained in this lesson. Please check.
      How to modify a noun. Click this link.

      1. Hello Maggie-sensei,

        I wasn’t referring to that part, I was referring to the の in ないのかもしれないね, why is it ‘inai NO kamo’, why isn’t it just ‘inai kamo shirenai’?

        Thank you for linking that lesson too, I will check that out!

        1. Sorry! I should have read your question well.
          The link of the related lesson is this

          You add の when you stress your feelings (in this case feeling of uncertainty), emotions, or reason

          幽霊なんかいないのかもしれない Expressing one’s feelings of doubt more with の

  2. Hello Maggie sensei,

    I have a question. Could you please help me.

    (1) Is it correct that we just use かもしれませんto express the low possibility. If the possibility is high, we will change into でしょう.

    (2) And is it correct that かもしれませんis used together with worrying about something bad only. If no worry, is it OK to use かもしれません sensei?

    For example,
    My textbook says
    明日雨が降らないかもしれません. Is not correct

    So, I’m confusing if the followings are correct or not.

    Thanks my Lady.

    1. Hello again,

      1) It is hard to answer it’s low possibility or not because everything is relative and some used it when something is likely to happen.
      Ex. 明日行くかもしれない (That person might have made up his/her mind 90 pct.)
      でしょう is a tricky word. You see Japanese people translate “will happen” with でしょう but unless you are a weather reporter, you don’t use でしょう so much.
      X 明日行くでしょう。
      You can just say 多分、行くと思います。/多分行きます。

      2) Not necessary true.
      Let me just tweak a little
      来年は合格できるかもしれません。 OK

      →明日、雨は降らないかもしれません。 is fine. But the weather reporters don’t say that. I wonder if that what your textbook meant..
      They say 降らないでしょう。

      1. Thanks a lot for helping me.
        That’s really a big challenge to understand かもしれない・だろう・でしょう・よう・らしい@@
        I will learn one by one, day by day. If anything I would like to ask my kind teacher, that’s Maggie sensei !!!!

  3. Hello Maggie Sensei!
    I believe that I have heard ひょっとして、ひょっとしたらandひょっとすると used before, but what’s the difference and when would you use each one respectively in conversation?

    1. Hello,
      ひょっとして・ひょっとしたら・ひょっとすると and also もしかして・もしかしたら・もしかすると add the meaning of “I could be wrong but, ~ by any chance
      You start the sentence with it when you tell someone your assumption.
      マギーは忙しいかもしれない。= Maggie might be busy.
      ひょっとして忙しいのかもしれない。= I could be wrong but maybe Maggie is busy.

      1. Thank you for answering! So to summarise they are all the same and can be used interchangeably?わかりました。ありがとうございます!

    1. OK,
      V+ かもしれない
      V + そうです

      今日は雨が降るかもしれない。( = Kyou wa amega furu kamo shiremasen.) It might rain today. (Just talking about the possibility. )
      雨が降りそうです。( = ame ga furisou desu.) It looks like a rain. (It is about to rain) The speaker is judging/assuming the change of the weather from the sky.

      You can’t use そうです for your own action.

      来年は日本に行くかもしれない。(= rainen wa nihon ni iku kamo shirenai.) I might go to Japan next year.
      X 日本に行きそう (= nihon ni ikisou) wrong

  4. Can you use ‘kamo/kamoshirenai’ to be elusive and playful? For example can you use it in circumstances, when it is obvious you have an opinion/intention/additional information but you don’t give it away. In English this might be common amongst close friends/lovers that are being playful or alternatively someone you were being very rude to.

    e.g Did you go to the party yesterday.
    I *might* have (gone to the party).
    (Obviously the second speaker knows but they aren’t saying)

    or Will you make me a cup of tea?
    I might (do).
    (Again the speaker is being elusive and perhaps playful)

    Thanks in advance~

    1. Hi K.Aki

      Yes, you can
      In conversation you can just say ~かも
      Did you go to the party yesterday? →行ったかも

      Will you make me a cup of tea?
      I might (do). In this case 淹れるかも a bit strange.
      If you do something (under certain condition), I might do so.
      (under certain condition Ex. そのケーキをくれたら) 淹れてあげるかも..

  5. Hello, Maggie-sensei:

    I was reading a visual novel when, suddenly, an incomprehensible sentence popped up: “また仕方もしれぬものを…”.
    It was a conversation between person A and person B.
    A was saying the gun invented by B was a failure and, then, he says that, but “もしれぬ” is confusing me. It may be possible the real meaning is “Another useless thing…” or “Another thing that may be useless…”? Is it a fusion between “仕方ない” and “かもしれない”?

    1. Hi Adam

      しれぬ is an old way to say しらない ( don’t know)
      So I assume it means またやり方(How to use)もわからないものを… You got the gun that you don’t even know how to use

      1. Thank you very much, Maggie-sensei.
        For some reason, I was assuming it was “かもしれない”… *facepalm*. Your answer makes sense with the following part of the conversation between A and B. I didn’t know that しれぬ was しらない. I have learnt something new.

  6. when do we need to put a の before かもしれない ?

    1. You don’t use のかも when you talk about what you likely to do.

      I might go to Tokyo tomorrow.
      X 明日、東京に行くのかもしれません。(wrong)

      or when you assume what likely to happen.

      It might rain today.
      今日は、雨が降るのかもしれない。(not natural)

      You use のかも when you assume the reason why something happened

      And there is a subtle difference but のかも shows stronger assumption.
      I might have done the same thing.

  7. What about “kamo wakarimasen”?

    i heard about that today for first time.

    I already have troubles with wakaru and shiru, so more troubles showed up now lol

    1. When you talk about future possibility
      Ex. It might rain tomorrow,
      X 降るかもわからない is not natural.

      かもわからない can be use in some area as a dialect.

      But for example, when you can’t tell which one something is, you can use かもわからない。

  8. 今、「ノルウエイの森」を読んで日本語を勉強しています。マギー先生の日本語の授業が大好きです!度々使います。ありがとうごうざいます。

    1. こんにちは、Jing!
      このサイトに来てくれてありがとう! 😊

      1. はい。「ノルウエイの森」で日本語の勉強をしています!
        When there’s something I don’t understand, I often find the answers on your site!

  9. レッスンはありがとうございました、マギー先生!

    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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