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## maybe vs probably

This topic has 3 expert replies and 11 member replies
gmat_ttt Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
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#### maybe vs probably

Thu May 15, 2008 5:10 pm
This is a question from OG.

Of all the possible disasters that threaten American agriculture, the possibility of an adverse change in
climate is maybe the more difficult for analysis.
(A) is maybe the more difficult for analysis
(B) is probably the most difficult to analyze
(C) is maybe the most difficult for analysis
(D) is probably the more difficult to analyze
(E) is, it may be, the analysis that is most difficult

OA is b

The OG explanation says that use of maybe is unidiomatic. Why is that?

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lunarpower GMAT Instructor
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Fri May 16, 2008 11:26 pm
gmat_ttt wrote:
This is a question from OG.

Of all the possible disasters that threaten American agriculture, the possibility of an adverse change in
climate is maybe the more difficult for analysis.
(A) is maybe the more difficult for analysis
(B) is probably the most difficult to analyze
(C) is maybe the most difficult for analysis
(D) is probably the more difficult to analyze
(E) is, it may be, the analysis that is most difficult

OA is b

The OG explanation says that use of maybe is unidiomatic. Why is that?

1) the most important comment i could make here: it doesn't really matter why. you should follow the gmat's rules slavishly, like a seven-year-old who really wants that piece of candy for bein such a good kid. since the o.g. has just told you, in no uncertain terms, that the use of 'maybe' is unacceptable, that's all you really need to know.
this is not to say that' it's pointless ever to think about 'why'; for most sentences the answer explanations are either simply not there (as for gmatprep problems) or are sufficiently vague to merit debate as to the particulars of the gmat's rules. however, in cases such as this one, where there can be no doubt at all about the rules the gmat employs, just follow their rules.

2) i concur with the official opinion on this one: 'maybe' seems much too informal for formal written english. i would never dream of including the word 'maybe' in any sort of formal paper or article, unless it were embedded in some sort of quote.

_________________
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chidcguy Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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Sat May 17, 2008 6:49 am
How about the usage of perhaps?

Is perhaps preferred over may be?

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lunarpower GMAT Instructor
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Fri May 23, 2008 12:00 am
chidcguy wrote:
How about the usage of perhaps?

Is perhaps preferred over may be?
well, we've established that 'maybe' is proihibited, so anything legitimate would be preferred to it.

but yes, 'perhaps' certainly has a suitable degree of formality.

_________________
Ron has been teaching various standardized tests for 20 years.

--

Pueden hacerle preguntas a Ron en castellano
Potete chiedere domande a Ron in italiano
On peut poser des questions Ã  Ron en franÃ§ais
Voit esittÃ¤Ã¤ kysymyksiÃ¤ Ron:lle myÃ¶s suomeksi

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Quand on se sent bien dans un vÃªtement, tout peut arriver. Un bon vÃªtement, c'est un passeport pour le bonheur.

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goelmohit2002 Legendary Member
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Fri Jul 24, 2009 9:40 am
lunarpower wrote:
gmat_ttt wrote:
This is a question from OG.

Of all the possible disasters that threaten American agriculture, the possibility of an adverse change in
climate is maybe the more difficult for analysis.
(A) is maybe the more difficult for analysis
(B) is probably the most difficult to analyze
(C) is maybe the most difficult for analysis
(D) is probably the more difficult to analyze
(E) is, it may be, the analysis that is most difficult

OA is b

The OG explanation says that use of maybe is unidiomatic. Why is that?

1) the most important comment i could make here: it doesn't really matter why. you should follow the gmat's rules slavishly, like a seven-year-old who really wants that piece of candy for bein such a good kid. since the o.g. has just told you, in no uncertain terms, that the use of 'maybe' is unacceptable, that's all you really need to know.
this is not to say that' it's pointless ever to think about 'why'; for most sentences the answer explanations are either simply not there (as for gmatprep problems) or are sufficiently vague to merit debate as to the particulars of the gmat's rules. however, in cases such as this one, where there can be no doubt at all about the rules the gmat employs, just follow their rules.

2) i concur with the official opinion on this one: 'maybe' seems much too informal for formal written english. i would never dream of including the word 'maybe' in any sort of formal paper or article, unless it were embedded in some sort of quote.
Hi Ron,

Thanks for the explanation....

but as far as I remember there are quite a few correct options in OG where they use "may be"...I am really confused why the same is unidiomatic here but idiomatic in other questions of OG...one example below Q15 of OG-10...where the correct answer is C....

In his research paper, Dr. Frosh, medical director of the Payne Whitney Clinic, distinguishes mood swings. which may be violent without their being grounded in mental disease, from genuine manic-depressive
psychosis.

(A) mood swings, which may be violent without their being grounded in mental disease, from genuine manic-depressive psychosis
(B) mood swings, perhaps violent without being grounded in mental disease, and genuine manic-depressive psychosis ,
(C) between mood swings, which may be violent without being grounded in mental disease, and genuine manic-depressive psychosis
(D) between mood swings, perhaps violent without being grounded in mental disease, from genuine manic-depressive psychosis
(E) genuine manic-depressive psychosis and mood swings, which may be violent without being grounded in mental disease

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lunarpower GMAT Instructor
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Fri Jul 24, 2009 3:28 pm
goelmohit2002 wrote:
but as far as I remember there are quite a few correct options in OG where they use "may be"
that's different.

i was saying that they won't use the SINGLE WORD "maybe". they'll opt instead to use more formally acceptable alternatives, such as "perhaps".

the TWO WORDS "may be" are totally fine.

_________________
Ron has been teaching various standardized tests for 20 years.

--

Pueden hacerle preguntas a Ron en castellano
Potete chiedere domande a Ron in italiano
On peut poser des questions Ã  Ron en franÃ§ais
Voit esittÃ¤Ã¤ kysymyksiÃ¤ Ron:lle myÃ¶s suomeksi

--

Quand on se sent bien dans un vÃªtement, tout peut arriver. Un bon vÃªtement, c'est un passeport pour le bonheur.

Yves Saint-Laurent

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goelmohit2002 Legendary Member
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Sat Jul 25, 2009 12:32 pm
Edited....Deleted....found my mistake.

Last edited by goelmohit2002 on Sun Jul 26, 2009 5:23 am; edited 1 time in total

goelmohit2002 Legendary Member
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Sun Jul 26, 2009 4:46 am
Edited....Deleted....found my mistake !!!

Last edited by goelmohit2002 on Sun Jul 26, 2009 5:27 am; edited 1 time in total

btg760 Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts
Joined
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Posted:
33 messages
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Sun Jul 26, 2009 5:13 am
lunarpower wrote:
goelmohit2002 wrote:
but as far as I remember there are quite a few correct options in OG where they use "may be"
that's different.

i was saying that they won't use the SINGLE WORD "maybe". they'll opt instead to use more formally acceptable alternatives, such as "perhaps".

the TWO WORDS "may be" are totally fine.
Hi Ron,

Suppose both options (B) and (C) have used the word "probably" then which one would be preferable?

(B) is probably the most difficult to analyze
(C) is probably the most difficult for analysis

I still feel "to analyze" is suitable then "for analysis".

Any suggestions?

goelmohit2002 Legendary Member
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Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:18 am
lunarpower wrote:
goelmohit2002 wrote:
but as far as I remember there are quite a few correct options in OG where they use "may be"
that's different.

i was saying that they won't use the SINGLE WORD "maybe". they'll opt instead to use more formally acceptable alternatives, such as "perhaps".

the TWO WORDS "may be" are totally fine.
Hi Ron,

As per the above discussion, Maybe together is wrong....

but if you will see the OG-12 Q4, OG says "Maybe" and "perhaps" are interchangeable.....not sure what indeed is the case....

does it mean that GMAT has changed its stance between OG-10 and OG-12

Following is the question OG-12, Q4.....OA = E

4. of all the vast tides of migration that have swept through history, maybe none is more concentrated as the wave that brought 12 million immigrants onto American shores in little more than three decades.
A. maybe none is more concentrated as
B. it may be that none is more concentrated as
C. perhaps it is none that is more concentrated than
D. maybe it is none that was more concentrated than
E. perhaps none was more concentrated than

tyronetan82 Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts
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07 Jun 2010
Posted:
31 messages
Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:24 am
my confusion was not maybe vs probably.

I am confused by the use of more vs most, it seems that by using MOST would change the meaning of the question, since the question used more.

I obviously had a bad feeling of choosing D, and had an inclination to choose B since it did sound more logical, BUT B changes more to MOST... can someone explain this please... RON?

gmat_perfect Legendary Member
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Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:58 pm
tyronetan82 wrote:
my confusion was not maybe vs probably.

I am confused by the use of more vs most, it seems that by using MOST would change the meaning of the question, since the question used more.

I obviously had a bad feeling of choosing D, and had an inclination to choose B since it did sound more logical, BUT B changes more to MOST... can someone explain this please... RON?
Good question:

Let me try.
Of all the possible disasters that threaten American agriculture, the possibility of an adverse change in
climate is maybe the more difficult for analysis.

(A) is maybe the more difficult for analysis
(B) is probably the most difficult to analyze
(C) is maybe the most difficult for analysis
(D) is probably the more difficult to analyze
(E) is, it may be, the analysis that is most difficult

See some examples:

Of all the boys, he is the best one to solve the problem.

Of the two boys, Karim is more intelligent.

--> See "OF ALL" leads the sentence to superlative degree. That means when we compare among more than two we need to use "best", most etc.

For the same reason, option B has used MOST.

Got it?

Thanks.

tyronetan82 Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts
Joined
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Sun Aug 22, 2010 11:26 pm
got it. Thanks!!

santhoshnanda Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
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Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:14 am
Difference between maybe and probably :

Probably implies a greater degree of certainty than maybe. For example, let's take two sentences
1. "I will probably hit the gym today."
2. "May be I will hit the gym today."

In the first case the chances of it happening is about 80-90% and in the second case it is only 50%.

Speaking about the question from OG, we are trying to narrow down on one option that is the most difficult to analyse. Hence, by using probably over may be, we are pretty much sure it is 'adverse change' that is the causative.

GmatKiss Legendary Member
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Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:48 am
gmat_ttt wrote:
This is a question from OG.

Of all the possible disasters that threaten American agriculture, the possibility of an adverse change in
climate is maybe the more difficult for analysis.
(A) is maybe the more difficult for analysis
(B) is probably the most difficult to analyze
(C) is maybe the most difficult for analysis
(D) is probably the more difficult to analyze
(E) is, it may be, the analysis that is most difficult

OA is b

The OG explanation says that use of maybe is unidiomatic. Why is that?
B is the best choice!

when you compare an entity with all the others, it should be most

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