The probability/probabilities of that happening is/are

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Omega Force

Senior Member
Spanish
Hello.

Do we say

"The probability of that happening is..."

or

"The probabilities of that happening are..."

?

Are there any real difference between the two?

Thanks in advance for your answers.
 
  • Li'l Bull

    Senior Member
    Spanish (Spain)
    I have a further question: How would you continue the sentence if the event is unlikely?:

    The probabilities of that happening are very...?

    a) ... slim
    b) ... low
    c) none of the above

    Thank you in advance.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    :confused: I would not use probabilities in the plural. I might use the singular, in which case I would say the probability was low.

    If I wanted to use a plural noun, I would say 'chances' thereby making both a and b possible...
     

    Li'l Bull

    Senior Member
    Spanish (Spain)
    If I wanted to use a plural noun, I would say 'chances' thereby making both a and b possible...
    Thanks, boozer. Can you really say "The chances of that happening are low"? I agree that "chances" collocate with "slim" but, with "low"?

    This existing thread might provide some insight. odds/probability
    Thanks, sdgraham. A mathematical jargon-laden thread, but it does contain some posts I find useful.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Thanks, boozer. Can you really say "The chances of that happening are low"? I agree that "chances" collocate with "slim" but, with "low"?
    Well, it would not always be my first choice, but surely has been said before. BNC:
    They say drug-abusing mothers who would previously have had an abortion are bearing sickly babies with low chances of survival.
    Of that, 95 per cent goes back in prizes on cash bingo — less for prize bingo — but the individual's chances are low.
     
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