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  1. #1
    smartjj Guest

    Default Difference between 'likelihood', 'possibility' and 'probability'?

    Is there any difference of the magnitudes represented by these words? I often hear people saying 'It's possible, but not probable' or things alike. Can someone explain? Thank you very much!

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Difference between 'likelihood', 'possibility' and 'probability'?

    It's possible- not very likely >50%
    It's likely/probable <70%

    These percentages are just to give an idea.

    It's likely to rain- take an umbrella
    It's possible that it will rain- take a gamble and leave the umbrella.

  3. #3
    annikki is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Difference between 'likelihood', 'possibility' and 'probability'?

    I would also like to know if we can use 'possibility' in expressions like "there is evey possibility that she is given a job" or we must say "every likelihood" instead. Is it a collocation?

    Thank you.

  4. #4
    Daruma is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Difference between 'likelihood', 'possibility' and 'probability'?

    Here are some examples of there is evey possibility that:

    http://discuss.washingtonpost.com/wp...dman032803.htm
    There is every possibility that this war will lead to greater incidents of terrorism and greater possibility for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

    BBC NEWS | Technology | Home PCs hijacked to spread spam
    Even if you use anti-virus software but do not keep it up to date, there is every possibility that you are helping to keep spam alive and spreading.

    BBC SPORT | CRICKET | Calling time on chucking
    Quite simply, there is every possibility that no bowler will ever be called for chucking again in a Test match.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/...in_denver.html
    And while there are "no plans" for Obama to appear in the convention hall tonight, there is every possibility that he will make a surprise appearance onstage.

    I hope this helps.

  5. #5
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    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Difference between 'likelihood', 'possibility' and 'probability'?

    Quote Originally Posted by annikki View Post
    I would also like to know if we can use 'possibility' in expressions like "there is evey possibility that she is given a job" or we must say "every likelihood" instead. Is it a collocation?

    Thank you.
    Yes, you can use 'possibility' here, but in either case you'd have to say:
    "There is every possibility that she will be given a job".

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