Possible vs. Plausible

Discussion in 'English Only' started by SilentAdvocate, Mar 6, 2007.

  1. SilentAdvocate New Member

    Hi, I haven't been able to figure out the exact difference between "possible" and "plausible". Maybe it's because of how similar they sound, but i don't really understand how different they are. "Possible" implies likelihood, and therefore, is an assertion that whatever is in question may happen, so it's like saying "yes, it's true". But what about "plausible"? Would somebody please explain this to me? It really reminds me of the "sit/set" or "lie/lay" words and it's driving me nuts!
    P.S.: Here are the definitions that i looked up. They didn't clear up my question though...
    plaussible: having an appearance of truth or reason; seemingly worthy of approval or acceptance; credible; believable
    possible: that may or can be, exist, happen, be done, be used, etc
  2. Old Novice

    Old Novice Senior Member

    USA, English
    "Possible" means something may happen. "Plausible" implies that a hypothesis or statement sounds logical and may well be true. The words really focus on different ideas.

    The word that means something is likely to happen is "probable."
  3. josepeluco Senior Member

    English - United States
    The word "possible" doesn't really imply "truth" or "certainty" at all. It gives a stronger sense of doubt and skepticism than that. However, "plausible" doesn't imply that doubt.

    For example...

    It's possible that you are correct = I don't know if you are correct, but you might be.

    It's plausible that you are correct = It's reasonable to think that you are correct, so you probably are.
  4. Endpoint New Member

    Hi there,

    Plausible implies superficial apparency
    Possible implies a future potency; potentially able

    It's all in scounting out the derivations.... this really gives you the core distinctions. And using trusted sources like Merriam Webster, etc.


  5. Eluá New Member

    Spanish - Argentina
    You are talking about 3 different things:
    • Possible: Is a proposal that can happen. "You can have a allergic reaction to this vaccine, but the chances are 1 in a million".

    • Probable: Is a proposal that has a lot of chance to happen. "It is very probable that this vaccine cures the rabies, it have 99 chances in 100".

    • Plausible: Is a proposal that seems like it could be true (verisimilar). "The defendant said he was sleeping alone at 23:00". "The Director of National Intelligence appealed to plausible negation, saying that she was not aware of the illegal activities of the unit".

    And, if you must translate it to Spanish, please don't use "plausible" (which in Spanish means worthy of applause), instead use "verosimil" and related words.

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