What is the difference between chances and possibilities? Preparing for RNE, I usually make mistakes in multiple choice tasks. For example, «assuming it's not that difficult to create the right conditions for life to form, the universe is so big that the _______________ are if it can happen somewhere else, it will». a) opportunities b) chances c) possibilities d) choices I was struggling to decide whether it is b or c, and eventually made a mistake by choosing c. Could you maybe explain me why b was the right one, and give some tips on tasks like that, what should I focus on? And a side question, «With text messages, you do not need to actually call anyone. You simply type a short message and send it, ________ careful, of course, to send it to another mobile and not to a home phone». According to the key answers it should be «were (careful)», which makes no sense to me... isn't it «being (careful)»?
Feb 3, 2017 10:09 AM
Answers · 5
First, think about these forms: "The chances are good that if it can happen somewhere else, it will", and "The possibility is good that ...". This one is less natural sounding, but still ok "The possibilities are good that...". You can understand what those examples mean because they're not leaving anything out. However, over time the phrase "the chances are good that" has degraded into "chances are (that)." Words have just been left out for whatever reason, over time, and native speakers have gotten used to hearing it that way and just understanding it. That degradation has not happened with the other two example phrases I showed. This is likely the root of your difficulty in answering this question, which is at best challenging and at worst slightly unfair since it's mixing one of these degraded conventional expressions in with other options that don't involve such an expression at all. For your side question, the only answer that would make sense to me would be the word "being".
February 3, 2017
"Chances are" is a fixed expression/idiom. Outside of the idiom, none of the words fit. Also, you are correct that it should be "being careful".
February 3, 2017
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