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.

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"Adverbs of Probability" in the English Grammar

What Are Adverbs of Probability?

Adverbs of probability (also called adverbs of certainty) show us the possibility of an event or action.

Common Adverbs of Probability

Mainly, we have thousands of adverbs of probability in English. However, below is a list of several common probability adverbs. 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 below:

He will do as he's told, indeed.

Perhaps it's better that we stay in today.

Where Do We Put Them in Sentences?

Adverbs of probability are mainly 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:

Certainly The most likely
Definitely
Obviously
Likely
Probably
Possibly
Perhaps
Maybe The least likely

Now, let us see some examples below:

I should probably get going.

Here, the sentence is showing that there is the chance is 50% that the person go.

Maybe Rick is not the traitor.

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

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