עלול vs. אולי

sawyeric1

Senior Member
English - American
I've seen both of these used for "might":

I might even fall asleep on the couch with the TV on
אולי אפילו אירדם על הספה עם הטלוויזיה דלוקה

vs.

A. Sometimes I feel like throwing it out the window
לפעמים בא לי לזרוק אותו מהחלון

B. You don’t want to do that
אתה לא רוצה לעשות את זה

A. Why not?
?למה לא

B. You might hit someone in the head
אתה עלול לפגוע למישהו בראש

Is there any pattern for when to use one over the other, or are they interchangeable? Maybe a difference in register?

Thanks
 
  • shalom00

    Senior Member
    English - US
    The general rule I learned was that עלול implies something negative that might occur.
    אולי can be positive or negative or neutral.
     

    sawyeric1

    Senior Member
    English - American
    So every time you want to say "might" in a positive sense, like if you translated "You should try - you might win", you use אולי?
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    slus: Can't אולי be negative too? For example,

    וַתִּרְאַנִי הָאָתוֹן וַתֵּט לְפָנַי זֶה שָׁלֹשׁ רְגָלִים אוּלַי נָטְתָה מִפָּנַי כִּי עַתָּה גַּם אֹתְכָה הָרַגְתִּי וְאוֹתָהּ הֶחֱיֵיתִי.

    In your opinion, what does it mean here?
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    Thanks! I had no idea it meant “unless” in וַתִּרְאַנִי הָאָתוֹן וַתֵּט לְפָנַי זֶה שָׁלֹשׁ רְגָלִים אוּלַי נָטְתָה מִפָּנַי כִּי עַתָּה גַּם אֹתְכָה הָרַגְתִּי וְאוֹתָהּ הֶחֱיֵיתִי.
     
    Top