"what could possibly go wrong?" and "what can possibly go wrong?"

I am confused because both uses possibly ... what is the difference between the two sentence?

thank you in advance

1 Answer 1


"What could go wrong?" is more of a hypothetical question about the future.

It can be used rhetorically to support an idea by pointing out that it is low-risk.

It's also sometimes used sarcastically to make fun of an obviously bad idea, e.g. "Closing your eyes while driving - what could go wrong?"

"What can go wrong?" is less hypothetical and more immediate. I don't hear this phrase nearly as often as the other version. However, it might be used for something like troubleshooting some hardware.

In either case, "possibly" is added for emphasis and doesn't change the meaning much.


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