by any chance

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beyazlale

Senior Member
TR
Hello,

"Can the company contact me via email by any chance?"

What does "by any chance" mean in this sentence?

Does it mean;

"Is there any possibility for the company to contact me via email?" ?


Thank you very much.
 
  • Harry Batt

    Senior Member
    USA English
    This expression is usually reserved for a situation where the speaker knows that it would be an imposition for the listener to get in touch by email. The speaker, thus, comes to the listener with his question phrased politely, "by any chance," which more or less means, "Hey! If you can't do it, I will understand."
     

    ullas84

    Senior Member
    turkish
    Are ''By any chance'' and ''Do I have any chance to do ....'' interchangeable?

    Eg;

    a)Can I take your number by any chance?

    b)Do I have any chance to take your number?

    are sentence a and sentence b interchangeable?

    İf they are not interchangeable , except being in the same meaning ,is sentence b idiomatic? (May be sentence b is idiomatic but it has a nuence difference in the meaning to sentence a)
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    They aren't interchangeable.

    "By any chance" is a formula of politeness. It softens a direct request: Do you have a pen I could borrow, by any chance?
    You don't happen to have a pair of scissors with you by any chance, do you?
    (You realise that it's pretty unlikely.)

    In post #1 I would have used "Is there any chance the company can contact me by email?"
     

    ullas84

    Senior Member
    turkish
    Than
    You don't happen to have a pair of scissors with you by any chance, do you?
    İs not ''by any chance'' part supposed to be after '', do you'' because question part of the sentence is that (do you?) ?

    *You don't happen to have a pair of scissors with you ,do you by any chance?
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    You can move the phrase around, but the question tag "do you?" sounds more natural to me in the end position.

    Do you by any chance have a pair of scissors on you?
    Do you have a pair of scissors on you by any chance?
    You don't happen to have a pair of scissors on you by any chance, do you?
     

    ullas84

    Senior Member
    turkish
    You don't happen to have a pair of scissors on you by any chance, do you?
    problems appear when I translate it to Turkish language,

    it expresses the idea that ; it is more likely for them to have a pair of scissors on them than not having it on ''

    but the meaning is opposite of it,

    Some issues appear like that in translations ,I think

    And Thanks for the replies :thumbsup:
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    You don't happen to have a pair of scissors with you by any chance, do you? :D


    In BE we often prefer the tentative approach. The meaning is "In the unlikely event that you have a pair of scissors on you, I'd like to borrow them", but it sounds more excruciatingly polite.
     
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