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Possibility vs probability

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  • Possibility and probability are similar in meaning, but there is a slight difference. We will examine the definitions of possibility and probability, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

    Possibility describes something that might occur, the chance that something might happen. The term possibility may refer to something with a great chance of happening or a small chance of happening. In actual use, the word possibility is most often used when talking about something that has a lesser chance of occuring. The word possibility is derived from the Latin word possibilitas which means able to be done. The plural form of possibility is possibilities.

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    Probability also describes something that might occur, the chance that something might happen. The term probability is used in mathematics as a ratio. In the strictest since, the word probability may refer to something with a great chance of happening or a small chance of happening, but in actual use, the word probability is most often used when talking about something that has a greater chance of occuring. The word probability is derived from the Latin word probabilitas, which means provable. The plural form of probability is probabilities.

    Examples

    Edina is studying the possibility of a commuter rail service through the city and is seeking feedback from residents and business owners. (The Minneapolis Star Tribune)

    U.S. rate hike expectations have been pared to less than a 50-percent probability after the latest inflation print on Friday and with no top-tier data this week, markets have plenty of time to mull over the future direction of interest rates. (Reuters)

    As the tension between North Korea and the US continues to grow, the possibility of war is rapidly evolving into a probability. (The Business Insider)

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