Adverbs of Probability for intermediate learners

Adverbs of probability indicate how certain we are about an action. In this lesson, we will learn about how and when to use them.

"Adverbs of Probability" in the English Grammar

What Are Adverbs of Probability?

Adverbs of probability are a type of adverb used to indicate the likelihood or probability of an event or situation occurring. They provide information about the speaker's or writer's degree of certainty or uncertainty about what is being discussed.

Common Adverbs of Probability

There are thousands of adverbs of probability in English. However, below is a list of some of the most common ones. Let us take a look:

  • Probably
  • Likely
  • Unlikely
  • Surely
  • Undoubtedly
  • Possibly
  • Maybe

Structure

Some adverbs of probability end in '-ly'. Take a look at the examples below:

I'd probably go home tonight.

She will undoubtedly come to the class.

However, there are several adverbs of probability that do not have an '-ly' at the end. Study the following examples:

He will do as he's told, indeed.

Perhaps it's better that we stay in today.

Placement

Adverbs of probability are usually placed before the main verb. Look at the following examples:

She should definitely visit a therapist.

They certainly had glasses yesterday.

How Do We Use Them in Sentences?

In the table below, you can see adverbs of probability ranging from the least likely to happen to the most likely to happen:

The Most Likely Certainly
Definitely
Obviously
Likely
Probably
Possibly
Perhaps
The Least Likely Maybe

Now, let us see some examples:

I should probably get going.

Maybe Rick is not the traitor.

Here, there is little chance for the idea to be true.

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