Can't we say " Look at those dark clouds.It is likely/bound/due to rain " ?

3 Answers 3


We can indeed say "It's likely/bound to rain". Bound expresses a greater degree of certainty than likely.

We are more likely to use due if we are thinking of a previous weather report than if we are looking at clouds. The word suggest that something has been scheduled.

  • 1
    @Murat Forgive me, but when exactly does "it" not function as a noun?
    – Crazy Eyes
    Nov 13, 2014 at 22:28
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    @Murat. In the page you linked us two there are several examples of 'it is likely to ...'. Only the section at the bottom tells you that this is not possible sometimes, and explains that it cannot be used in the same way as 'it is easy to ...'.
    – tunny
    Nov 13, 2014 at 22:47
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    @Murat. Ok, I read too superficially. Sorry. However, there is nothing there to say that 'it is unlikely to ..' is not possible.
    – tunny
    Nov 13, 2014 at 23:05
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    Murat, How does the link you provide support the false statement that one cannot use it is + un/likely? It is unlikely to give every conceivable example!
    – user6951
    Nov 13, 2014 at 23:48
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    "Due" suggests a schedule or deadline.
    – LawrenceC
    Nov 14, 2014 at 0:13

Let us look at all those options mentioned in your question. And we will see what comes first in my mind.

Look at those dark clouds. It is likely to rain = It ought to rain today. It might be raining after some time.

Look at those dark clouds. It is bound to rain - It is quite certain that it'll rain (It is close to 'likely' but a bit more in degree of certainty). OALD's example: It's bound to be sunny again tomorrow.

Look at those dark clouds. It is due to rain = The existence of those dark clouds is because of rain!

So, in the context defined, likely or bound work.

  • 2
    I don't fully agree with your last example, Maulik. I guess "it" here is what is called (by some) "an existential pronoun": it does not stand for any specific subject. See this topic at ELU. Or maybe it could be interpreted both ways. Nov 14, 2014 at 6:51
  • @CopperKettle read the first sentence "...what comes first in my mind".
    – Maulik V
    Nov 14, 2014 at 7:04

Maulik and tunny are correct about their interpretations of "It is likely to rain", "It is bound to rain", and "It is due to rain."

Another option is "We're due for rain." In this usage, rain is assumed to come more-or-less on a schedule. Either it is now a time at which "we" expect rain, or the rain is "overdue". Furthermore, "we" are under the influence of a "gambler's fallacy" -- "we" assume that if the rain is "overdue", then rain is especially likely to happen soon.

There are several common situations where an American might say "We're due for rain."

  • There has been a drought. For example, "we" are in what is historically a wet season, but "we" have gone an unusual length of time without rain.

  • The dry season historically ends soon, and "we" are expecting the wet season to start soon.

  • A weather forecast (or an almanac) predicts rain soon (or in the recent past).

  • Some places (during certain seasons) have rain at predictable times of day. For example, many places have a brief thunderstorm in the middle of most summer afternoons. Other places often have misty mornings.

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