Improve your English with Likely and Unlikely

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likely unlikely

Hi guys!

Today Let’s Talk About Two Words That’ll Make You Sound More Natural in English – LIKELY/UNLIKELY. 

Of course, you meet them on TV and in the news.  But you have no idea how to use them correctly. Let’s figure it out.

The Meaning of Likely/Unlikely

We use LIKELY/UNLIKELY to say that something will probably happen or not happen in the future.

The Usage of Likely/Unlikely

We can use LIKELY/UNLIKELY:

before A NOUN (as an adjective = probable/improbable),

  • What is the most likely reason some people avoid all carbohydrates in order to lose weight?
  • The most likely cause of the fire was playing with fire.

or with the VERBS (be, seem and appear):

  • It appears unlikely that the experiment will give good results.
  • It seems likely that you will pass the exam.

!!!We can use modifiers such as very, most, quitehighly and extremely before likely and unlikely to make their meaning stronger: I think it’s highly unlikely that he will move to Nigeria.

Constructions with Likely or Unlikely

be likely to + infinitive/ be unlikely to + infinitive

  • I’m unlikely to go to Italy this year.
  • I’m unlikely to pass my exams this year.
  • This meeting is likely to start later.
  • We’re unlikely to get home early.

it’s likely that + clause/ it’s unlikely that + clause

  • It’s unlikely that I will go to Italy this year.
  • It’s likely that this meeting will start later.
  • I think it’s unlikely that England will win the football World Cup.
  • It’s unlikely that we will get home early.

!!! In American English, and more and more in British English, likely is used as an adverb (like probably in British English), most commonly between will and a main verb:

You will likely catch COVID-19 while hanging with a sick person.

I hope everything became clear for you.

Practice

Let’s do some practice. Make sentences that are true for you (using likely or unlikely). Suggest more than one option.

  1. It will be sunny next Monday.
  2. I will watch TV tomorrow.
  3. My father will study English today.
  4. My family will buy a new car.
  5. I will eat grapes today.
  6. You will eat an ice-cream in the evening.
  7. You will make breakfast.
  8. It will rain today.
  9. A monster will walk through the door.
  10. A triangle will have 3 sides.
  11. You will have a dream tonight.
  12. You will fly in a spaceship tomorrow.
  13. It will be Christmas tomorrow.
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