We had a discussion about the meaning of "possible" and "probable" in the other question.

I know possibility refers to "can", and probability refers to "likelihood", for example we may discuss if it is possible that God exists or not (through logic and argument), but if we talk about the probability that a baby is son or daughter (there is not much logic involved)

I don't know why, but I feel if I say "It is very windy today, it is possible that tomorrow be rainy", there are some signs indicating tomorrow could be rainy, therefor the chance is not low.

However, if one say "Could the tomorrow be rainy?", I may reply "It is probable" I could talk about a probability (depending on the season this probability is low or high), even if there is no sign today.

However, if I say "probably, tomorrow is rainy", I could say there is a high chance that tomorrow is rainy.

I would like to know how much my interpretation could be valid, and is it possible that there is a difference in "probably" and "it is probable" under some circumstances or not? if not, how do you say that there is a chance for everything?

Update: OK, as now I know the meaning of "probable" as "likely" then I myself don't much credit for my claims, but I have a related question, how do you say the probability of another planet like earth, when you think the probability is very little?

  • It is possible : then it may doesn't point it's low probability
  • It is probable : it points a high probability, which is not the case
  • Neither, (then what do you say)

1 Answer 1


possible just means not impossible. How likely (or probable) does not matter.

What is the possibility of another planet like earth?

If it is not impossible, so this statement is OK.

What is the possibility that pigs can fly?

There is no issue of probability here.

What is the probability of another planet like earth?

As long as there is some possibility (it is not impossible) you can use probability.

There is a 5% probability/chance that there is another planet like earth.

As for probable, this is similar to likely.

There was probable cause to arrest that man.

  • Then I should use a qualifier and can't say just it is probable, I was looking for a word to say it has a very low probability (it has chance but very low)
    – Ahmad
    Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 8:32
  • 1
    Then I would use unlikely or improbable.
    – user3169
    Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 15:44
  • unlikely have a negative voice, maybe "it is possible but unlikely"
    – Ahmad
    Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 17:36
  • Just because something is "unlikely" does not make it negative by itself. That would be in other context.
    – user3169
    Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 16:56
  • Consider the same question is there any planet like earth.... and one replies "It is unlikely", to me he tries to deny this probability, but if one replies "it is possible", he tries to suppose a chance for it and "it is possible but unlikely" could mean that one admits but suppose little chance for it (however I doubt this last sentence).
    – Ahmad
    Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 19:05

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