In German language you use an expression mit an Sicherheit grenzender Wahrscheinlichkeit to say that you are almost one hundred percent sure/certain.

A particularity of that expression is that it has a subtility that I think comes from probability/mathematics; you say that you are not one hundred percent sure, but you can come arbitrarily close to certainty.
The expression also can make someone smile and/or shows a little bit of sophistication in the usage of the German language despite it's somewhat confusing meaning.
A probably wrong but literal translation could be something like with probability bordering/verging on certainty.

I use the expressions almost certain, very sure, pretty sure, etc. in this case, but I wonder....

In English language there is an expression that can come very close to the German expression?

  • 3
    In English we have to put participle clauses like this after the nominal they modify. Translated literally this is with a probability bordering/verging on certainty"; that's perfectly idiomatic and actually fairly common. I found about 50 instances in Google Books -- though I have to admit, a lot of those are translations from German! Dec 29, 2015 at 3:37
  • 99 and 44/100ths percent pure. Started as a tag phrase for an American soap company.
    – user3169
    Dec 29, 2015 at 4:13
  • I got an answer on here. with confidence bordering on certainty seems to be an acceptable expression and used in English language.
    – Ely
    Dec 29, 2015 at 4:59

1 Answer 1


The closest phrase that comes to mind comes from law - the phrase:

"Beyond a reasonable doubt"

or the more poetic, but similar,

"Beyond a shadow of a doubt".

While neither would exactly bring a smile to someone's face, they sound very natural and familiar to a native speaker and carry a formal, sophisticated tone.

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