Adverbials of probability

We use adverbials of probability to show how certain we are about something. The most frequent adverbials of probability are:

certainly - definitely - maybe - possibly
clearly - obviously - perhaps - probably

maybe and perhaps usually come at the beginning of the clause:

Perhaps the weather will be fine.
Maybe it won’t rain.

Other adverbs of possibility usually come in front of the main verb:

He is certainly coming to the party.
Will they definitely be there?
We will possibly come to England next year.

but after am, is, are, was, were:

They are definitely at home.
She was obviously very surprised.

Exercise

Comments

Hello Sir
Please let me know whether this sentence is right or wrong. Where did you go to yesterday?
I write it without 'to' e.g. Where did you go yesterday ?
Are both correct or only the second? please let me know.
Thank you.
Regards
Lal

Hi Lal,

The first sentence is not correct; the second one is.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
I have seen on your website this: 'Maybe we should start again.'

My question: Is it all right to write may and be together or 'may be' with a gap or both are correct ?
Please let me know.
thank you.
Regards

Hello Lal,

The word maybe means the same as the word perhaps. It is used to describe something which is uncertain but possible.

The phrase may be is a modal verb with the infinitive be. Other infinitives can be used: may go, may need, may want, may win, may lose etc. In this use may has a range of possible meanings. You can read about those on our pages about modal verbs.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi
I have a question about the word "definitely"

In the conversation,
A: Why didn't you call me last night?
B: I definitely called you. You didn't answer.

Can I use the word "definitely" in the above sentence?
Is it a correct sentence grammatically?
Is it a natural sentence in English?

Hello Seongsoo,

Yes, it is fine to use 'definitely' here. We actually use the word quite often when we are talking about things we are sure that we remember.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Good morning,

If we use the adverbs in sentences which have should, would or won´t, where would we place them? Before the action verb?
for example... "they should definetly come" or "they definetly should come"

and in the negative of the same sentence?
"They shouldn´t definetly come" or "they definetly shouldn´t come"

in questions I asume it would be "Should they definetly come?"

Am I right??

Thanks so much

Hello Angie,

The position of the adverbs in all of the phrases you propose except 'they shouldn't definitely come' is correct, and there is no difference in meaning between them. You can see some good explanations of this topic on this Cambridge Dictionary page and this BBC page. After you've read through them, if you have any other specific questions, please let us know and we'll do our best to help you.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

 

Hello kirk. Achilleas here from Greece. My son have a question in English. ..
I WOULDN'T BE SURPRISED IF THE PRICE.........
THAT'S MEAN - CERTAINLY - POSSIBILITY OR DOUBT
THANK U

Hello Achilleas,

If you say 'I wouldn't be surprised if the price is X', it means that you think the price is X but you're not sure. So I'd say 'possibility' is the best answer of the options you mention.

By the way, if he hasn't seen them already, your son might be interested in LearnEnglish Teens (for adolescents) or LearnEnglish Kids (for younger kids).

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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