The DLE redirects the definition of quizás to quizá, but I wonder if there's any implicit, secret rule that I am not aware of as to whether quizás is preferred over quizá.

I've seen both forms used almost indistinguishably even in the same text.

What's your take on this? Would you use both words in the same text? Do you have a rule to choose one or the other, depending on the word following it, for example?

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    +1 as I did not even realize that there were two different words >.<
    – Kage
    Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 20:12

4 Answers 4


They are exactly the same, as the Diccionario panhispánico de dudas says here:

quizá. Adverbio que expresa duda o probabilidad: «Neruda es un gran poeta. Quizá el más grande de todos los poetas» (Skármeta Cartero [Chile 1986]). Por analogía con otros adverbios acabados en -s, se creó la forma quizás, igualmente válida: «Quizás Casiana tenga razón» (Parrado 1905 [Cuba 1984]).

So the original one was "quizá" but "quizás" was created because other adverbs also ended in "s".

I use both forms (I'm not sure if I tend to use one more than the other). But the Ngram Viewer of Google says that "quizá" is more used though in the past the difference was much bigger than nowadays.

enter image description here

  • 3
    Javi, thanks for the graph, very interesting stuff. So the form quizás exists even before the 1800's, huh? Google es definitivamente una maravilla :)
    – Icarus
    Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 16:06
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    La verdad es que quizá me suena medio raro, siempre uso quizás :) Quizás, quizás, quizás
    – César
    Commented Mar 9, 2012 at 15:03
  • +1 for the reference to the Ngram Viewer. Amazing.
    – McArthey
    Commented Jul 13, 2012 at 14:07

Both, but the original word (if any word can be original) is "quizá".

It comes from Latin "qui sapit" meaning "Who knows?".

The first documentation of the word appears on the famous work Cantares del Mio Cid:

Allá dentro en Marruecos,
ó las mezquitas son, que abrán de mí salto

quiçab alguna noch,
ellos lo temen, ca non lo pienso yo;

(At least that's what it says on my Latin etymology dictionary)


I don't think there's any difference. Or at least I'm not aware of it. As you say, they are used indistinctively. The DPD also says they are equivalent.

I tend to use quizá, buy it's just a matter of preference.

Maybe, if the following word starts with an "s" I would avoid using quizás, so it's easier to pronounce, but there's no explicit or implicit rule about it.


Use quizás when the next word starts with a vowel. Use quizá when the next word starts with a consonant as in the examples below:

  • quizá podemos - maybe we can

  • quizás ella puede - maybe she can

This is like the English "a" and "an." You don't say "a animal," you say "an animal" so that you don't have an 'A sound' followed by another 'A sound.'

  • 1
    That is interesting. Is it a rule you came up with, based on observation, or did you learn this somewhere? It would be interesting to know the origin of the rule. Also, if this is a regional rule, it would be helpful to know what your region is. Thanks, Guest, and welcome to the site! Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 16:53
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    @aparente001 I agree with Guest that, traditionally, it was taught that way. In "Gramática histórica de la lengua castellana", the author says: Nosotros nos atreveríamos, si para ello tuviéramos autoridad suficiente, a recomendar la forma "quizá" cuando precede a conso- nante y "quizás" antes de vocal.
    – Gustavson
    Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 19:23
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    @walen "quizá alguien" and the like are really cacophonic. The "s" is best to create liaison between the two vowels.
    – Gustavson
    Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 19:36
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    @Gustavson - Shall we wait a day or two, and if Guest doesn't edit the answer, you could add the material from your comment? Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 20:01
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    @walen En este artículo (entre otros que hay en Internet): estandarte.com/noticias/idioma-espanol/quizs-o-quiz_1170.html puede leerse: En general podemos decir que, movidos por motivos fonéticos, tendemos a decir quizá cuando la palabra que se escribe a continuación empieza con consonante, y quizás si la palabra que sigue empieza por vocal. Así, decimos: Quizá llame a Laura esta tarde, y Quizás encuentres lo que buscas en otro lugar.
    – Gustavson
    Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 0:01

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