Talking about probability in English

30 Apr

There are many ways of saying that something will probably or possibly happen.


bound to = certain: “They are bound to succeed!”

sure to
 = certain: “He is sure to win the championship.”

likely to
 = probable: “We are likely to win the contract.”

 = sure: “He’s a definite frontrunner for the job!”

: “It’s probable that we will be on holiday around then.”

: “An election is likely next year.”

will definitely happen
: “There will definitely be a storm later.”

will probably happen
: “They will probably take on more staff.”


may: “We may be able to help you.”

: “There might be a holiday next month – I’m not sure.”

: “There could be a bug in the system.”

… is possible
: “Do you think he will resign?” “Yes, that’s possible.”

… is unlikely
: “It’s unlikely that she will move.”

will possibly
: “She’ll possibly tell us tomorrow.”

probably won’t
: “They probably won’t hear until next week.”

definitely won’t
: “I definitely won’t go to the party.”

… is highly unlikely
: “It’s highly unlikely that the company will expand.”

Note: Be careful of the word order.
“Definitely” and “probably” come after “will” (in positive sentences) and before “won’t” in negative sentences.


You can add words to alter the strength of probability:

highly likely / unlikely (= very likely / unlikely)

 likely / probable / possible (= more likely, probable or possible)

could possibly / probably

most definitely won’t (= even more unlikely)

1 Comment

Posted by on April 30, 2011 in Speaking English


Tags: , ,

One response to “Talking about probability in English

  1. gruzoperevozki

    May 8, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Интересная статейка, но как по мне, можно было бы и глубже капнуть..)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: