You are here

Adverbials of probability

Level: beginner

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

certainly definitely maybe possibly
clearly obviously  perhaps probably
Adverbials of probability 1


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.

or after the present simple or past simple of be

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

But these adverbs sometimes come at the beginning of a clause for emphasis:

Obviously she was very surprised.
Possibly we will come to England next year.

Adverbials of probability 2


Adverbials of probability 3



This tip is helpful.

I want to know if there's a difference or not in these two sentences below:

A. The eggs are almost all white.
B. All the eggs are almost white.

Hello Elma,

There is a difference:


> The eggs are almost all white - there are one or two eggs which are brown OR the eggs are white with brown spots or marks.


> The eggs are almost white - their colour is not quite white, but is very similar to white.



The LearnEnglish Team

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.

Hi Lal,

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

All the best,
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.

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.



The LearnEnglish Team

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,


The LearnEnglish Team


Best wishes,


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