Unit 6.1

Probability with Likely and Unlikely

Introduction

Likely is an adjective and an adverb used with a similar meaning to probable in the affirmative form.

Unlikely is an adjective and an adverb used with a similar meaning to improbable in the negative form.

Form

We find likely in affirmative sentences and unlikely in negative sentences.

They usually come after the verb or between the auxiliary verb and the main verb:
Subject + verb + likely/unlikely + …
Subject + auxiliary + likely/unlikely + main verb + …

Example

  • Is it likely that you will cry when you see him.
  • They are likely to win the match.
  • You are unlikely to lose weight, you are eating too much.
  • It is unlikely that we will fall asleep.
  • I will likely fall ill as I am wearing thin clothing.
  • We will likely get angry when we see him.
  • This situation will unlikely change in the future. 
  • She will unlikely be bored at this party.

Use

When we use likely we want to express probability.

When we use unlikely we want to express improbability.

Summary

Likely is used to express probability, it has a similar meaning to probable and possible, whereas unlikely is used to express improbability.

They are both placed before a verb in a sentence or between the auxiliary verb and the main verb.

For example:
“She will likely lose weight.” = She will probably lose weight.
“She will unlikely lose weight.” = She won’t probably lose weight.

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.

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