They are likely to go.
What modal verb can I use instead of the phrase "are likely to" ?
Can I say : They might go [?]
Thank you very much in advance.
'They are likely to come.' 'How likely? Hardly likely?' 'No. Very likely, extremely likely or quite likely.'
'How do you know? Have you arrived at it by speculating (They may/might go)?' 'No, by reasoned deduction (They must go).
I agree with you that this phrase refers to probability, but not certainty as "must" implies.
I looked up for the word and I understood that "likely" means [ most of the cases] "probably", so I`d choose "may" or "might" but never "must".
They are likely to go = It`s a good chance that they go
Last edited by Teia; 26-Jul-2007 at 19:51.
Without the full context, it's quite difficult to substitute a modal verb for the phrase.
But "may" and "might" seem not quite appropriate here. In conversation, if the phrase were an answer to a question, for instance, perhaps the nearest modal equivalent would be "They should be going, yes".
All the best,