'Может, и...' seems to translate to 'Maybe...', but it also seems to convey more of a sense of possibility.

For example, how should the following phrase be understood?

Может, и я ходил.

My estimation would be 'Maybe I went.' But does the use of the word 'может' also imply that I was maybe capable of going, maybe not?

  • 3
    The more context you give, the more precise translation/explanation you will get. A phrase like this is not "self-contained", will never be used on its own, it (implicitly) refers to something that you decided to omit (the previous phrase/conversation).
    – tum_
    May 6, 2019 at 19:16
  • 1
    i would understand it only in the sense of possibility, because when personal ability is meant usually the verb will agree with the noun or will be supplemented in the correspondent form, although this may sound not particularly euphonic - Может, и я мог пойти which is better as Возможно/Вероятно, и я мог пойти May 6, 2019 at 19:53
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    "Может, ..." = "Может быть, ..." That's "Maybe", not "Maybe capable" (unless "capable" is stated explicitly). The exact translation would be context-dependent, as @tum_ pointed out.
    – Alexander
    May 6, 2019 at 21:58

2 Answers 2


может in your sentence serves a function of the parenthesis - an explanatory or qualifying word (in Russian we call them вводные слова). It would be a short form of a common parenthetical phrase может быть, which you can translate as may be, possibly, probably. Check for the whole definition

So to answer your question, может does indicate towards a possibility that I went (and not capability).

I would translate your sentence as: I might have gone too. In that context in combination with the conjunction и, it is reasonable to assume that either a speaker knows if he went (wherever he went) and it is a small play towards his companion(s), as if like teasing: you'll never know if I went there or not, or the speaker's companion(s) suggested before that he (they) went somewhere and the speaker sincerely doesn't remember and simply assumes that he probably also went there.

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    sorry Darya, May be and I went is not proper English, I might have gone too May 7, 2019 at 6:48
  • You are completely right, I must have focused too much on the word to word translation from Russian that forgot to make sure it made any common sense in English. May 7, 2019 at 7:35
  • @БаянКупи-ка whenever it's possible you can just suggest an edit.
    – shabunc
    May 7, 2019 at 14:05

Может, я и ходил. И что из этого?

Even if I went there, what's then?

The phrase implies the possibility if the action named, but mainly it expresses the idea that the action does not influence anything.

  • 3
    It's "и я", not "я и" but your answer would still be ok with such a swap. The logical stress just shifts from "ходил" to "я".
    – tum_
    May 6, 2019 at 21:37

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