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Do you know how to use phrases like will definitely, probably won't and might to say how certain you are about future events?


Predicting the Future

We can say how sure we feel about the future by using modal verbs. There are also other phrases we can use to express our certainty or uncertainty about future events.

Modal verbs

We can combine modal verbs with adverbs to show a greater or lesser degree of certainty.

  • People will definitely work longer hours in the future.
  • People definitely won’t work longer hours in the future.

Both of these sentences show that the speaker is sure.

  • You’ll probably enjoy this film.
  • You probably won’t enjoy this film.

The speaker is thinks (s)he’s right but isn’t 100% sure.

  • She might pass the exam or she might not pass. I don’t know.

The speaker isn’t sure at all. You could also use could or may instead of might.

Other expressions

Here are some other ways to talk about how certain we are about something in the future.

1 I’m sure

  • Jan is bound to pass the exam. He’s worked really hard.
  • Jan is certain to pass.

2 I think so but I’m not 100% sure

  • Katka is likely to pass the exam.
  • Katka may well pass the exam.
  • There’s a good chance that Katka will pass the exam.

3 I don’t think so

  • Juraj is unlikely to pass the exam.
  • There’s not much chance Juraj will pass.
  • I doubt if Juraj will pass.
  • There’s no chance of Juraj passing the exam.



Language level

Upper intermediate: B2