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Asked by frazierrk - 3 years ago
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Xmetalrocker Level 32 / Pirate ;-)
Answered 3 years ago
It's possible I will answer your question, but the probability of a good answer umm do you really want to measure that lol. Didn't think so ;-)
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joensf Level 82
Answered 3 years ago
Possible, probable (adj) and likely (adj & adv) all denote "likelihood" in meaning.
However, there are some subtleties between them.

First of all, "possible" emphases the likelihood in an objective manner, but it always implies a sense of "the likelihood is minimal". For example, I would say that while failure is possible, everything points towards success.

Next, "probable", according to its etymology, means verifiable, and thereby extends to mean "substantiated, reasonable, and credible". In contrast to "possible", it may well indicate a strong sense of likelihood.
For example: (1) It's possible, thought not probable, that he would accept the offer. (2) The probable cause of his death has been diagnosed as avian flu.

Finally, "likely", on the surface of it, is similar to "probable". They are sometimes interchangeable with not much difference in meaning.
For example: It is likely (probable) that we shall meet with some opposition.

The difference between "likely" and "probable", if you like, will be that the former sets great store by the judement that is arrived at from some superficial signs, whereas the latter is based on the truth that is revealed after considering the plus side and negative side of a situation.
For example, (1) The likely outcome of the contest varies from moment to moment(Either A or B will win as both of them are equal in strength and skills. The outcome is unclear). (2) On the probable outcome of the contest, opinions of the audience are unanimous(Obviously, A is stronger than B). Hope that helps a bit.
(Not a teacher)
Additional Details added 3 years ago
The word ‘possible’ could describe something that is low in probability, but it is better to treat it as something totally different. ‘Possible’ should mean just that – something that is possible. The scale of probability is not relevant. You could have a probable hypothesis which is reasonable but unproved. You could have a possible hypothesis which is only speculation.

The scan for possibility should be as wide as possible. Your management skills need to be developed to the point where you look at all possibilities when considering explanations. Once a possibility is seen, then that you can find things that support that possibility. When you look for ‘probable’ explanations, you limit yourself to your present perceptions and knowledge, which are the foundations for any judgment of probability.

‘Possibility’ widens your perception, while ‘probability’ narrows it.
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