"May Be"


One young lady emailed me her tattoo with the following story:

"This girl who was learning Mandarin was doing body painting and I asked her to write one word on me that she thought summed me up. What she told she wrote was the word "maybe".

I took a picture of it and took it to a Mandarin restaurant and asked them to translate it for me. They said it was "can be" or "able to be". With confirmation that I wasn't getting "stupid white girl" tattooed on me I went to my tattooist.

I wouldn't have a problem if I didn't know for a fact that the tattooist has screwed up... Could you help me out and let me know if this has drastically changed the meaning of what I have on me or if it is now just gibberish?"

Although would be acceptable, the phrase "may be" in Chinese is translated as or .

The bigger problem about this tattoo is not the grammar, but the calligraphy is terrible. The middle character is too far apart with an unnecessary separation in its left partial. The last character is so poorly written that does not resemble the original character at all.


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