Future Probability

When you ask for opinions about future probability, you usually use will + base form or be going to + base form. However, there are other alternatives that are also common in spoken English.

In the table below, you can find a collection of useful phrases and expressions that will help you convey future probabilities with confidence. The table includes various patterns and grammar structures, including modal verbs like “will” and “might,” as well as phrases such as “there’s a good chance” and “I’m sure of it.”

PhrasesGrammar PatternExplanationExamples
will/be going towill/going to + base formExpresses future events or actions without indicating certainty“I will go to the party tomorrow.”
“What do you think they‘re going to do about it?
Definitelywill definitely + base formIndicates a high level of certainty or confidence in a future event“She will definitely win the race. She’s the fastest runner.”
I’m sure be sure of something
be sure + subject + will + base form
Indicates strong confidence or certainty in a future outcomeI’m sure it will rain today. The sky is cloudy.”
I’m bound to be bound to + base formSuggests a high likelihood or inevitability of a future event“If you keep practicing, you’re bound to improve your skills.”
There’s a good chance There’s a good chance + subject + will + base formIndicates a favorable probability or possibility of somethingThere’s a good chance she will get the job. She has relevant experience.”
Fairly likely tobe fairly likely to + base formExpresses a moderate probability or likelihood of a future event“He is fairly likely to pass the exam. He studied hard.”
Mightmight + base formSuggests a possibility or a lower level of certainty in the future“I might go to the concert if I can get tickets.”
There’s a chance something will/won’t happenPhraseIndicates the existence of a possibility or an unlikelihoodThere’s a chance it will rain tomorrow. Bring an umbrella.”
Unlikelybe unlikely that + somebody/ something + will + base formExpresses a low probability or unlikelihood of a future event“It‘s unlikely that he will arrive on time. He’s always late.”
There’s only a small chance that something will happenPhraseIndicates a very low probability or likelihood of somethingThere’s only a small chance they will cancel the event. It’s well-organized.”
Doubt somebody will do somethingdoubt + subject + will + base formExpresses skepticism or lack of belief in a future event“I doubt they will win the competition. Their performance wasn’t strong enough.”
Doubt something will happendoubt it will + base formIndicates skepticism or lack of belief in a future outcome“I doubt it will snow tomorrow. The weather forecast says it’ll be sunny.”
To be not the first person but definitely not the lastbe not the first person + base form, but definitely not the lastImplies a level of certainty or confidence, although not the highest“I’m not the first person to say it, but definitely not the last – he’s talented.”
Bound tobe bound to + base formSuggests a high probability or inevitability of a future event“With her skills, she is bound to succeed in her career.”
Hope soPhraseExpresses desire or optimism about a future outcomeI hope so! I really want to win the competition.”
Think soPhraseExpresses a belief or opinion that something will happenI think so. Based on the evidence, he is likely to be promoted.”
Not think soPhraseExpresses a belief or opinion that something will not happenI don’t think so. It’s unlikely they will change their decision.”

Grammar practice

Speaking practice

  1. Imagine what life will be like in ten years’ time.
  2. Spin the wheel and discuss each statement on the spinning wheel
  3. Express how likely you think each will be.
  4. Negotiate where to place the statement next to the thermometer of probability, with high temperature meaning It’ll definitely … and cold temperatures meaning It definitely won’t … .
  5. Try to use a range of phrases during their negotiations.

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