unlike vs. unlikely

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by EIDERsoc, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. EIDERsoc Member

    I would like to know which of these is correct: a) It's unlikely that they do anything stupid, or b) It's unlike that they do anything stupid. To me the correct oprion is claerly a), but somebody told me the opposite, so I was wondering... Could somebody help? Thanks in advance!
  2. aprendiendo argento

    aprendiendo argento Senior Member

    Premantura - Croatia
    Croatian (Chakavian)
    They are unlikely to do something/anything stupid.
    Or It is unlikely they will do something/anything stupid.

    (Unlikely is an adjective.
    Unlike is used as a preposition more often than not, although
    in formal contexts it can be used as an adjective with the meaning of dissimilar).
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  3. pmaka06 Senior Member

    Some more examples may help:

    Unlike - dissimilar to, not alike, not like, different from.

    Although they are twins, they are unlike each other in many ways.
    Unlike previous winters, this year's was unusually warm.

    Unlikely - improbable, not likely

    It is very unlikely that it will rain today.
    It is unlikely that Madrid will win the game.
  4. Gabriel

    Gabriel Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    Argentina / Español
    "They are unlikely to do something" is a very interesting sturcture. We don't have an equivalent is Spanish with "they" as subject. We need to say:
    "Es poco probable que ellos hagan algo"
    that is structurally similar to the second sentence.
  5. pmaka06 Senior Member

    Interesting. And in the examples, I could have changed them to:

    Rain is unlikely today.
    Madrid is unlikely to win the game.

    When you say that you don't have an equivalent with 'they' as subject, do you mean the actor in the subordinate clause as subject whether singular or plural - they, he, she, I, etc?
  6. gengo

    gengo Senior Member

    Yes, that's the meaning. In other words, it's impossible in Spanish to translate the following two sentences differently as in English, as both translate into the same Spanish.

    They are unlikely to do anything stupid.
    It is unlikely they will do anything stupid.
  7. k-in-sc

    k-in-sc Senior Member

    There's always "no son propensos" (in certain contexts) ...
  8. pmaka06 Senior Member

    Gengo - thank you for clarifying. Otherwise it wouldn't have made sense.
  9. FromPA

    FromPA Senior Member

    Philadelphia area
    USA English
    They are unlikely to do something stupid - it's not probable that they will do something stupid
    It's unlike them to do something stupid - they have already done something stupid, and you are commenting that this is not their typical behavior.
  10. EIDERsoc Member

    Thanks to all of you!!

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