Grammar Info
N4 Lesson 4: 1/18

Might, Maybe, Probably

Colloquial: かも or かもしらん, Polite: かもしれません

Verb + かもしれない
[い]Adjective + かもしれない
[な]Adjective + かもしれない
Noun + かもしれない
Verb + かもしれません
[い]Adjective + かもしれません
[な]Adjective + かもしれません
Noun + かもしれません
Register Standard
使用域 一般
かもしれない is an expression in Japanese that is often treated as a single word, but is actually the combination of the 助詞(じょし) (particle) かも, and the potential form of the う-Verb 知(し)る (to know) with the 助動詞(じょどうし) (auxiliary verb) ない attached. かもしれない is regularly translated simply as ‘might’, or ‘maybe’, but the literal translation is much closer to ‘even (A), we cannot know’.
To use かもしれない, attach it to the end of any verb, noun, な-Adjective or い-Adjective, in their non-polite (keigo) forms.
  • 来年(らいねん)から観光客(かんこうきゃく)増(ふ)えかもしれない
    From next year, the number of tourists might increase.
  • あの建物(たてもの)教会(きょうかい)かもしれない
    That building might be a church.
  • 今日(きょう)無理(むり)かもしれない
    It might not be possible today.
  • そこ池(いけ)深(ふか)かもしれないから気(き) 付(つ)け
    That lake over there might be deep, so please be careful.
As the う-Verb 知(し)る is part of this construction, it may also be altered to its polite-potential form, creating かもしれません.
  • 明日(あした)休(やす)むかもしれません
    I might take the day off tomorrow.
Due to かもしれない being such a common grammar pattern in daily speech for expressing uncertainty about various things, several colloquial forms also exist. These are かも, and かもしらん.
  • 明日(あした)休(やす)みだからドライブするかも
    I have a day off tomorrow, so I might go for a drive.
  • 財布(さいふ)家(いえ)忘(わす)れてきかもしらん
    I might have left my wallet at home.
かも is by far the most common of these colloquial forms, with かもしらん potentially sounding a little bit rough/boyish.
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I might go to America next year.
If I buy these nice clothes, then I might become popular.
It is maybe better to not say such things.
Genki II 1st Edition
Page 33
Genki II 2nd Edition
Page 55
みんなの日本語 II
Page 48 [CH 32]
[DBJG] A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
Page 173
TRY! Japanese Language Proficiency N4
Page 82
Marugoto Elementary 2 (A2) Rikai
Page 157
Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
Page 239