In "Re: Mike Gear lives -- maybe," McEvoy writes:
i. Glad the Fifth Beatle was finally found alive - maybe.
which is a proposition which, as propositions go, 'triggers' quite a few
implicatures. Its logical form is complex. It is short (or implicatural) for:
ii. McEvoy is glad that the fifth beatle was finally found alive, maybe.
Grice was once told at Clifton that "perhaps" (or 'p'rhaps', in his more
correct pronunciation) should be preferred to 'maybe' for this and that reason.
Grice is very complicated in his stating the preferences of this adage he was
once told. It may boil down to 'may BE' including the copula, in Aristotelian
iii. S may be P.
whereas 'perhaps' is just an Anglo-Norman cliché.
It may be argued that 'maybe,' appended at the end of a proposition, renders it
irrefutable, in Popperian terms. Cfr.
iv. All ravens are black, maybe.
Matter of fact (Geary thinks that "as" is otiose), Geary prefers "mebee" as a
more proper spelling of 'maybe,' or as I prefer, 'may be'. Now, if McEvoy's (i)
is seen in terms of the modal copula ("S may be P"), it obviously does not
apply to McEvoy's gladness (it is a fact that he is glad). It applies to the
proposition that gladdens (sic) McEvoy; to wit:
v. The fifth beatle was finally found alive, maybe.
vi. It may be the case that the fifth beatle was finally found alive.
John Lennon (who was never knighted, unlike Sir Paul) once said that the term
"beatle" came to him after he heard there was a band called "crickets" ("And I
was punning on 'cricket' qua insect -- the beetle belonging to the same phylum
-- and 'beat', as in the beat generation.")
But (vi) may trigger the wrong implicature. It seems more appropriate to
modalise the 'was found':
vii. The fifth beatle might have been found alive, and this gladdens me.
P'rhaps, of course.