Who knows, perhaps oneday ... will


Senior Member
I would need assistance on figuring out whether "Who knows, perhans one day ... will ..." sentence and the simple "... will ..." sentence can be concluded that the both means practically the same thing.

Here is an English question I am discussing on with my collegues:

... Computers can store an enormous amount of information in a much smaller space. Computer faxes, electronic mail, and the Internet are only three examples of technology that have replaced paper. Who knows, perhaps one day people will not use paper to write on at all!

Which is the following does NOT agree with the content of the passage?
A. Nobody will write on paper in the future.
B. Computers, faxes, e-mail and the Internet are common.
C. ...
D. ...
To me, choice A does not agree with the passage and thus my answer is choice A. To me, the use of "who knows", "perhaps", "one day", indicates that the writer has not drawn a definitive conclusion that "[n]obody will write on paper in the future." Also, "... people will not use .." does not seem to be equal to "[n]obody will ..". Some might continue using paper, which I interpret from the writer's sentence.

What one of my colleges still believes, however, that choice A matches with the content despite my concerns, and say that "compuer faxes" and "faxes" are different; so choice B does not match the passage and thus the correct answer is B.

I would be grateful for any help!
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  • Trisia

    Senior Member
    I think that when you deal with these tests it's better to look for the logical answer first. If there is no such thing (or they all seem correct), then look for glitches and traps.

    You found the logical answer. Your colleague is nit-picking. And I also think you're right.

    "Who knows, perhaps one day..." is clearly not the same as "nobody will use paper."

    P.S. Would you mind adding the source -- where this question is from?


    Perhaps means by chance, maybe etc.
    For example, "perhaps she will call tomorrow."
    The speaker, when saying that, is not very sure about whether she will call or not. Maybe she will call tomorrow; or maybe she doesn't. Who knows?

    I agree with you on choice of A as the best answer.


    Senior Member
    Thank you both for replying to my question!

    P.S. Would you mind adding the source -- where this question is from?

    The question is from a past entrance exam for a Japanese high school, the content of which has been made public after the test.


    Senior Member
    English - US
    I agree with the two earlier posters. "Who knows" is often used to introduce a speculative sentence, and is essentially always followed by "perhaps," "maybe," "may," or "might"--words that indicate only possibility. We cannot come to a definite conclusion based on this sentence. While one day people may not use paper at all, there is nothing here to suggest that that outcome is inevitable.


    Senior Member
    I agree with the two earlier posters.

    Thank you Starfrown for getting to the English Only forum too and for your comment! And thank you all three for the feedback. I think my colleague and I both have a clear understanding of the topic question.