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    #1

    most likely

    How many people are there in the Wang Family?

    Where can I put the phrase most likely in the above sentence?

    Is this right?

    How many people are there most likely in the Wang family?

    Thank you

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: most likely

    Quote Originally Posted by dido4 View Post
    How many people are there in the Wang Family?

    Where can I put the phrase most likely in the above sentence?

    Is this right?

    How many people are there most likely in the Wang family?

    Thank you
    "Most likely" doesn't fit in that sentence.

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    #3

    Re: most likely

    Thank you, bhaisahab.

    Why not fit in that sentence?

    If the person who doesn't know the precise number or s/he is just wondering how many.

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    #4

    Re: most likely

    Not a teacher, but:

    Technically, you could say:
    How many people are there, most likely, in the Wang family
    But it is a little bit awkward.
    You could change it slightly to say:
    How many people are most likely in the wang family.

    "Most likely" is used when the person doesn't know the actual amount, or just wants an approximate answer. You can use it similarly to "probably" or "best", depending on what you're describing.
    Use it like "probably" when you're talking about actual amounts of things, or if you are more certain about the amount than normal
    Use it like "best" when you're talking about the chance of something happening.

    So instead of
    "There are probably ten people in that building"
    You can say "There are most likely ten people in that building"
    "We will probably die"
    "We will most likely die"
    Or
    "This is our best chance of survival"
    "This is our most likely chance of survival"

    "The walls are the best(most likely) hiding spot for mice" therefore "The mice are most likely(probably) in the walls

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    #5

    Re: most likely

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    "Most likely" doesn't fit in that sentence.
    I agree.

    Knowing that somebody has a large family you could ask 'About how many children do the Keoghs have?'

    Rover

  2. Johnson_F's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: most likely

    I believe that the one reason that 'most likely' does not fit in that sentence is that a question about the number of people in the Wang family is, in most situations, not subject to probablility.

    "How many people are there probably/possibly in the Wang family?" is similarly barely acceptable.

    On the other hand, in affirmative statements, such expressions can indicate the speaker's degree of certainty about the accuracy of the information.

    "When I last saw the Wang family some ten years ago, there were fifteen of them. But, the children may well be married by now and there are perhaps/possibly/probably closer to twenty people in the Wang family now."

    Even in that example, 'most likely' does not really fit, because of the greater degree of certainty implied by this expression. It might fit in:

    "The last time I heard from the Wangs, Mei-li was expecting her second child, so there are most likely four of them now"

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