EFL/ESL English speaking lessons
Expressing possibility and impossibility in English
What is possibility?
Expressing possibility – A possibility is when something might exist, happen, or be true but is not certain. In English, there are many ways to express possibility. We can use either modals or expressions. Check the tables and the examples below to understand more.
Modals used to express the possibility
- Use this rule: Subject + may + verb (infinitive)
- You can use this rule: Subject + might + verb (infinitive)
- or this rule: Subject + could + verb (infinitive)
- I may visit you tomorrow.
- I will take my coat as it may
- Don’t go anywhere. She could come to see you.
- I might drop by.
- He might travel alone.
Other expressions of possibility in English
- May be
- There is a chance that
- It is possible
- I suppose + subject + may
Examples of expressing possibility English
- Maybe she will not come today.
- It is possible she will show up soon.
- He will possibly visit us next Monday.
- I suppose they may invite us to dinner.
- Perhaps, she will call me.
- There is a chance that they will not bring the money today.
In English, you can also express impossibility (things that are, or seem to be impossible).
Expressing impossibility – Impossibility is the state or fact of being impossible. It is something that cannot be done or that cannot happen.
Modals used to express impossibility in English
- Subject + may not+ verb (infinitive)
- Subject + might not + verb (infinitive)
- She may not visit us today.
- She might not be ready for the medical operation.
Other expressions of impossibility in English
- It is impossible
- Can’t possibly
- There is no chance that
- It is not possible
Examples of impossibility in English
- It is impossible to fix this car.
- It is not possible to convince him. He is stubborn.
- There is no chance they will win the game.
- You can’t possibly do it without any training.
Check your understanding