# You have to consider all the probabilities (A comparison between possibility and probability / likelihood)

We know that:

Technically, possibility of any event is always 1 or 0 i.e. 'yes' or 'no'. If an event is possible, how likely will its occurrence be, under a given situation is probability.

Example, When we roll a dice, possibility of it showing up number 5 is 'Yes' (or 1) possibility of showing up number 8 is 'No'(or 0).In a situation where the dice is rolled once, Probability of it showing up number 5 is 1/6.

So, every event that we consider while finding the probability of occurrence of a particular event, is a possible event.

Now let's suppose you are giving an advice to someone who needs to look at the matter from the outside and there are some hidden aspects of the matter they are dealing with which are not visible for them and you intend to explain and clarify them the way the have to take and the steps they have to go through. You say:

• You should consider all the aspects of the matter prior to making any decision. You have to consider all the probabilities / likelihood.

What causes doubt in my mind about the bold statements above are the nearly null results I get when I search them on the net / NGram again.

I was wondering if you could help me out with this case? I know I can say something like:

• You should consider all the possibilities.

but is it possible to say:

• You should consider all the probabilities / likelihood.

If not, then why?

• Just FYI, "You should consider all the likelihoods" is not wrong. In fact, all three are fine and in a piece of text, they might all be used interchangeably to avoid repetitiveness. Mar 13, 2017 at 9:08
• Since you want to emphasize to consider all things that might happen possibilities is a better choice I think. As a rule of thumb "probability is bigger than possibilty" the movie in pursuit of happiness :-)
– Yuri
Mar 13, 2017 at 9:17
• @TeacherKSHuang "You must consider all the likelihoods" may not be ungrammatical, but it's unidiomatic. No native speaker would phrase it that way. Most people would say "consider all the possibilities", and if we were talking about something more technical and mathematical, something like betting on a horse race, "you have to consider all the probabilities", because there the probabilities are specific, concrete things to be considered. But that's a much less common situation. Safest and most idiomatic is "consider all the possibilities". Mar 13, 2017 at 9:32
• @TeacherKSHuang I am native speaker, and I do say no native speaker would put it that way, and that it is unidiomatic. If you don't believe me, maybe you'll believe Google nGrams: this phrase hasn't even appeared once in all the books it indexes, going back centuries. The phrase "consider all likelihoods" is grammatically possible, as is "invisible green ideas sleep furiously", but they should both be avoided. Mar 13, 2017 at 10:48
• Some of the discussion here has been moved to chat. I think that while it's a good discussion, it's starting to distract from the question a little bit. Mar 13, 2017 at 11:32