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Introduction to Lithuanian Basics:
Lesson 38

By Linas

While, in English, you have two words: can and may, in Lithuanian, you have only one: gali.

He may be doing it.

Answer: Jis gali tai daryti.
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He may do it.

Answer: Jis gali tai padaryti.
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What is the Lithuanian word for to be?

To be

Answer: Būti
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You can say: may be.

May be

Answer: Gali būti
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I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about it but the English word maybe (i.e. perhaps) is just may and be connected. Maybe simply means that it may be.

In Lithuanian, it works in nearly the same way. You have gali būti for may be (or can be) and if you connect them, you get galibūti for maybe. Except when you say galibūti a lot it gets shortened and you drop both i so it becomes galbūt.

The Lithuanian word for maybe is galbūt.

You usually put galbūt somewhere in the beginning of a sentence but there are no strict rules about it. Just put it as the very first word if at doubt.

Maybe I will have it.

Answer: Galbūt aš tai turėsiu.
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Do you still remember that word for to find?

To find

Answer: Rasti
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Maybe I will find it.

Answer: Galbūt aš tai rasiu.
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Perhaps I didn’t have it.

Answer: Galbūt aš to neturėjau.
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As a matter of fact, the word galbūt gets often shortened to simply gal. Try this shortening and say:

Maybe he’s here.

Answer: Gal jis čia yra.
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You often get asked this in questions. For example, somebody on street might use this gal and say to you maybe you can tell say where the station is... (or whatever). For tell you simply use to say - pasakyti. Try saying it:

Maybe you (formal) can tell...

Answer: Gal galite pasakyti...
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You could also say galbūt galite pasakyti. No difference there.

Let’s carry on. You of course remember Lithuanian for he has:

He has

Answer: Jis turi
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Actually jis turi not only means he has but just like in English it can mean he has to or he must. Try using it in this sense:

He must say it.

Answer: Jis turi tai pasakyti.
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Why pasakyti and not sakyti? Well, because you want him to actually say it and not to be saying it. From this point on, I will expect you to use pa forms where proper unless I’ll be saying to be doing something instead of to do something.

Anyway, what do you think must be would be?

Must be

Answer: Turi būti
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Exactly, and you can do the same thing with turi būti as with galbūt - you can connect these two words and wait till the is drops out to get turbūt. And, turbūt means it must be so or, otherwise, it probably is so... Thus:

The Lithuanian word for probably is turbūt.

Turbūt acts in exactly the same way as galbūt does except you don’t shorten turbūt to anything (whereas you shorten galbūt to gal). Say:

Probably it’s here.

Answer: Turbūt tai yra čia.
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You could also say tai turbūt yra čia and that would be just as good.

Say:

Probably he will do it but maybe not here.

Answer: Turbūt jis tai padarys, bet galbūt ne čia.
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You could have said jis turbūt tai padarys as well. Also, you could have used gal instead of galbūt. At any token, say this last sentence:

Maybe you do not understand it, but I will probably speak Lithuanian.

Answer: Galbūt tu to nesupranti, bet turbūt aš kalbėsiu lietuviškai.
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You don’t even need to say that because you can already speak Lithuanian. Some Lithuanian, anyway.