# Modals Percentage

• 20-Jun-2011, 10:20
symaa
Modals Percentage
Good morning,

Could you please tell me are these modals Percentage correct?

Will be=100%.
Would, will = 90%.
May well.(More stronger than may.)
May = 50%
Might possibly,well, conceivably(More stronger than might.)
Might =30%.
Could well (More stronger than could.)
Could =10%.
Can't = 0%.

I arranged this sentences according to their degrees of certainty:

1-That will be John.
2-That must be John.
3-That should be John.

Thank you in advance.

Regards,
• 20-Jun-2011, 13:25
Mannysteps
Re: Modals Percentage
Not a teacher

In my opinion you will never resolve the issue through percentages. You have to develop an intuition by placing them within contexts. Look at it as in the following examples:I have a friend who will always help me. He is entirely reliable

I have a friend who would always help me, but he always has reasons for not having done so.

I have a friend who may very well help me, but I won't put all my eggs in that basket.

I have a friend who may help me, but I'm well advised to also consider alternatives

I have a friend who could help me, if he feels like it or has the time.

I have a friend who might help me, but I don't expect too much of him.

I have a friend who might possibly, conceivably help me. He is my last resort. (here I start praying)

I have a friend who can't help. He is, thus, entirely ruled out.

I hope it helps some.

M.
• 20-Jun-2011, 13:57
Raymott
Re: Modals Percentage
Quote:

Originally Posted by symaa
Good morning,

Could you please tell me are these modals Percentage correct?
No.

Will be=100%.
Would, will = 90%.
May well.(More stronger than may.)
May = 50% > 0%
Might possibly,well, conceivably(More stronger than might.)
Might =30%. > 0%
Could well (More stronger than could.) > 0%
Could =10%. > 0%
Can't = 0%.

I arranged this sentences according to their degrees of certainty:

1-That will be John.
2-That must be John.
3-That should be John.
You haven't said whether you've arranged them ascending or descending likelihood. But "must" in this situation is stronger than "should", and "will" is possibly stronger than "must". But really, these words don't carry probabilities. They all mean that the speaker thinks that it is probably John.

Thank you in advance.

Regards,

No, they aren't. The only probabilities that come with modal verbs are 0%, > 0% and 100%.
You can't assign other probabilities without some context.
May/might/could simply mean that it's possible, ie > 0% likelihood.
Will/must - 100%
Won't/musn't/can't - 0%

To say that "might" means a probability of 30% is absurd.

The assignment of probabilities to modal verbs, or the inference that native speakers do this, is wrong.
There are a whole lot of other ways that people relate probabilities, such as adverbs, tone of voice, etc. The actual word cannot give a probability.

With adverbs, you can tell a difference between "He's very likely to come" and "He's hardly likely to come." There's no difference (in probability) between "He might come" and "He could come".
• 20-Jun-2011, 15:35
symaa
Re: Modals Percentage
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mannysteps
Not a teacher

In my opinion you will never resolve the issue through percentages. You have to develop an intuition by placing them within contexts:up:Yes,I think so.Look at it as in the following examples:I have a friend who will always help me. He is entirely reliable

I have a friend who would always help me, but he always has reasons for not having done so.

I have a friend who may very well help me, but I won't put all my eggs in that basket.

I have a friend who may help me, but I'm well advised to also consider alternatives

I have a friend who could help me, if he feels like it or has the time.

I have a friend who might help me, but I don't expect too much of him.

I have a friend who might possibly, conceivably help me. He is my last resort. (here I start praying)

I have a friend who can't help. He is, thus, entirely ruled out.

I hope it helps some.

M.

Thank you very much for these great examples.
All the best for you,

Quote:

Originally Posted by Raymott
No, they aren't. The only probabilities that come with modal verbs are 0%, > 0% and 100%.
You can't assign other probabilities without some context.
May/might/could simply mean that it's possible, ie > 0% likelihood.
Will/must - 100%
Won't/musn't/can't - 0%

To say that "might" means a probability of 30% is absurd.

The assignment of probabilities to modal verbs, or the inference that native speakers do this, is wrong.
There are a whole lot of other ways that people relate probabilities, such as adverbs, tone of voice, etc. The actual word cannot give a probability.

With adverbs, you can tell a difference between "He's very likely to come" and "He's hardly likely to come." There's no difference (in probability) between "He might come" and "He could come".

Ok, thank you very much, but it was my grammar teacher who had given us this percentage, and I want to know especially from English native teachers if it is really correct.
Best regards
• 20-Jun-2011, 16:00
emsr2d2
Re: Modals Percentage
Quote:

Originally Posted by symaa
Thank you very much for these great examples.
All the best for you,

Ok, thank you very much, but it was my grammar teacher who had given us this percentage, and I want to know especially from English native teachers if it is really correct.
Best regards

I don't think that your grammar teacher has done you any favours by telling you that. Not everything has an exact definition, and certainly not a mathematical one!
• 20-Jun-2011, 16:29
symaa
Re: Modals Percentage
Quote:

Originally Posted by emsr2d2
I don't think that your grammar teacher has done you any favours by telling you that. Not everything has an exact definition, and certainly not a mathematical one!:up:

Yes, sometimes they make things more vague and complicated :-? therefore I spend too much time on internet to find the right answers.
Thank you teacher.
have a nice day,

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