This is probably the most accurate information that we are likely to get.

Packard

Senior Member
USA, English
Context:

A customer wrote to ask how many parts were going to be packed on each skid. Since we were using second hand "gaylords" (huge cartons measuring approximately 40" x 48" x 40" tall), and since not all the gaylords were exactly the same size I wrote in an email:

The first packed gaylord has 4,236 pieces; it is likely that the gaylords will hold 4,000 to 4,500 each. This is probably to be the most accurate information we are likely to get.

I copied this email to our billing manager who said that "probably" and "likely" are redundant. I think they modify different things. "Probably" refers to the count of 4,236 pieces, and "likely" refers to future counts.

Question:

Is this a real distinction, or is our billing manager correct and they are redundant.
 
  • DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Don't they both modify 'information'?

    It does come across to me as a bit repetitious. I think I'd have said:
    This is probably the most accurate information we are going to get.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Don't they both modify 'information'?

    It does come across to me as a bit repetitious. I think I'd have said:
    This is probably to be the most accurate information we are going to get.
    That does sound better. Luckily my customer is less literate than I am. :) This has been bothering me.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Don't they both modify 'information'?

    It does come across to me as a bit repetitious. I think I'd have said:
    This is probably the most accurate information we are going to get.
    "Probably" modifies the information I have (4,236 pieces).
    "Likely" modifies the information that is going to come in as we fill more and more gaylords.

    So (in my mind, at least) not exactly the same. But still "going to get" seems like a better choice of words.
     
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