TESOL/Probability

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What is a 30% chance in English?

English provides many ways to express different levels of probability, or chance. This is only about the objective chances of something happening, not the speaker's expectation, bias, or belief about it happening. For more information on that, see Belief in English.

Part of Speech 0% 10% 30% 50% 80% 90% 100%
Adverb
  • certainly not
  • absolutely not
  • just possibly
  • probably not
  • possibly
  • maybe
  • probably
  • almost certainly
  • certainly
  • absolutely
  • no doubt
  • without a doubt
Adjective
  • impossible
  • just possible
  • unlikely
  • doubtful
  • improbable
  • possible
  • uncertain
  • probable
  • likely
  • almost certain
  • certain
  • inevitable
  • sure (It was sure. I was sure.)
Modal verb
  • mustn't be
  • can't/couldn't be
  • won't
  • can be/could be
  • might be
  • may
  • ought to be
  • should be
  • really ought to be
  • really should be
  • must be
  • will
Noun
  • no way
  • off chance
  • slight chance
  • long shot
  • chance
  • (a/any/some) way
  • good chance
  • good bet
  • near certainty
  • certainty
  • sure thing
Phrase
  • be supposed to
  • be bound to

Note that likely is usually an adjective even though it ends in -ly.

Quiz[edit]

1 It will - rain. (80%)

probably
probable
bound to
certainly not

2 That person - be the president. (0%)

might
can
certainty
can't

3 It's - that the trains will stop tomorrow. (30%)

impossible
needn't
unlikely
off chance

4 Winning would be a - with this low score. (10%)

long shot
certainty
sure thing
no way

5 There's - you can get me to come to your birthday party. (0%)

almost certain
might be
possible
no way


See also[edit]