This question comes from this post, where I am trying to express the following meaning clearly and concisely.

this is clear but not concise

on a rainy day, Bob is grumpy with a 60 % chance, Bob is happy with a 40 % chance.

is this clear and concise?

on a rainy day, Bob is grumpy with a 60 % chance, happy with 40 %


3 Answers 3


Thank you for linking to the post where the statement originated. It explains the very odd, and perfectly correct, syntax of (thing occurs) with a (percent) chance.

The most concise you should make the sentence, and still have it readable for humans, is something like :

On a rainy day, Bob is grumpy with a 60 % chance and happy with a 40 % chance.


Adding on to Valkor's answer, the main issue is the word 'with'.

While you can use 'with' to indicate possession, such as ‘a blouse with a white collar’ (Lexico), this sense is normally used for nouns, and not statements such as 'Bob is grumpy'.

Phrased in this way, it sounds like the 60% chance is accompanying 'Bob is grumpy', and not the chance that Bob is grumpy is 60%.

Here are some alternatives which have a similar meaning:

Bob has a 60% chance of being grumpy.

The chance that Bob is grumpy is 60%.

or you can use the construction 'There is' as suggested in a comment:

There is a 60% chance that Bob is grumpy.

  • 2
    @czlsws I don't know why this answer was downvoted, it's completely correct and a very good point. The original sentences do sound very unnatural.
    – Gamora
    Jul 24, 2019 at 14:21

I tutor at a math web site, and I would prefer "a frequency of 60%" to "a 60% chance." We are probably not talking about a true random event. This is a picky point of math speak. And going to Toby Mak's point, "with a frequency of" does not sound odd to my ears.

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