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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Confusion with LIKELY used in an example - Oxford book

    Hi everyone,

    I have found the following example in the Advanced Third English File book (Oxford).

    Jim didn't leave work until 6.00, so he won't likely be here before 7.00. WRONG

    The correct sentence is :

    Jim didn't leave work until 6.00, so he isn't likely to be here before 7.00.

    The lesson introduces the use of likely and unlikely, but gives no explanation on their use as adjectives or adverbs. Which is ok, because one can look for more information online, but I don't understand why the first sentence is incorrect. I've looked for more examples on the Internet and likely doesn't seem to be limited to Simple Present Tense, it is used with other verbal tenses too, including Simple Future. My impression is that the mistake might be related to the sequence of tenses, but I just don't see it.

    If indeed the mistake relates to the sequence of tenses, would the following one be correct?

    Jim didn't leave work until 6.00, so he wouldn't likely be here before 7.00.

    Thank you for reading my post. Any help is much appreciated. Thank you.

  2. Piscean's Avatar
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    Retired English Teacher
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    #2

    Re: Confusion with LIKELY used in an example - Oxford book

    In American English 'likely' can be used in the same way as 'probably'. It can't in British English.

    It has nothing to do with tenses.

    We Brits cannot say He won't/wouldn't likely be here. We can say It is unlikely/not likely that he will/would be here or He is unlikely/not likely to be here.

  3. Newbie
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    #3

    Re: Confusion with LIKELY used in an example - Oxford book

    Thank you very much, Piscean. I would have never done a search on likely in BrE vs AmE. Maybe I would have come across an explanation on Google in the end, but it would have taken me a lot of time or it would have been pure luck. Much appreciation.

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