Difference Wiki

Possible vs. Probable: What's the Difference?

By Janet White || Published on December 15, 2023
"Possible" means something can happen or be true; "probable" means something is likely to happen or be true.

Key Differences

The word "possible" refers to anything that can happen, regardless of its likelihood. "Probable" implies a higher likelihood or chance of something occurring. The essence of "possible" is about capability, while "probable" leans towards expectation.
When saying something is "possible," it means there is at least a minimal chance of it happening. In contrast, labeling something as "probable" suggests a strong belief or evidence that it will occur. "Possible" encompasses a wider range of outcomes than "probable," which is more specific and confident.
"Possible" often carries a neutral or uncertain tone, indicating various outcomes without leaning towards any. "Probable," however, conveys a sense of prediction or anticipation, indicating that something is more likely than not.
In decision-making, considering what is "possible" entails looking at all options, while focusing on what is "probable" involves prioritizing the most likely scenarios. "Possible" is about open possibilities, while "probable" zeroes in on the most expected one.
In science and statistics, "possible" is used for scenarios that could occur within the established parameters. "Probable," however, is used when evidence or data suggest a particular outcome is more likely than others.

Comparison Chart


Can happen or be true
Likely to happen or be true


Any level of likelihood
High likelihood


Indicates capability
Indicates expectation or likelihood


Neutral or uncertain
Predictive or anticipatory


Broad range of outcomes
Specific, expected outcomes

Possible and Probable Definitions


Within the limits of ability, capacity, or realization.
Achieving top grades is possible with hard work.


Supported by evidence or reasoning.
His success is probable given his track record.


Capable of happening or existing.
It's possible that it will rain tomorrow.


Greater than 50% likelihood.
It's probable that it will rain tonight.


Conceivable; imaginable.
A trip to Mars is possible in the future.


Likely to happen or be true.
It's probable that she will win the election.


Open to doubt; not certain.
It's possible he might not come to the party.


Appearing to be true or real.
It's probable that the story is just a rumor.


Permissible; allowable.
It's possible to take a break now if you need it.


Likely but not certain to be or become true or real.
A promotion is probable next year.


Capable of happening, existing, or being true without contradicting proven facts, laws, or circumstances
Is it possible to move faster than the speed of light?.


Likely to happen or to be true
War seemed probable in 1938. The home team, far ahead, is the probable winner.


Capable of becoming or of being made to be so; potential
Possible suspects in the case.
A possible site for the new capital.


Likely but uncertain; plausible.


Can 'possible' be used in all contexts?

Yes, it's versatile and applicable in various scenarios.

Is 'possible' a positive term?

It's neutral, neither inherently positive nor negative.

What does 'possible' mean?

It refers to something that can happen or be true, without indicating likelihood.

Is 'possible' subjective or objective?

It can be both, depending on context and perspective.

Can 'possible' be quantified?

Not specifically, as it covers a broad range of likelihoods.

Is 'probable' a guarantee?

No, it suggests likelihood but not certainty.

Does 'possible' indicate a high chance?

No, it just indicates something is not impossible.

How does 'probable' differ from 'possible'?

It indicates a higher likelihood than just 'possible'.

Is 'possible' always likely?

No, 'possible' just means it can occur, not that it is likely.

How does 'possible' relate to certainty?

It implies uncertainty, as it doesn't assure an outcome.

Does 'probable' imply evidence?

Typically, it suggests some form of reasoning or evidence.

How is 'probable' used in predictions?

To denote what is most likely to occur.

How do probabilities impact decision-making?

They guide decisions towards the most likely outcomes.

Does 'possible' imply feasibility?

Yes, it suggests that something can feasibly occur.

What does 'probable' mean?

It means something is likely to happen or be true.

How is 'possible' used in planning?

It's used to consider all potential scenarios.

Can 'probable' be quantified?

Often, especially in statistical contexts.

Is 'probable' subjective?

It can be, depending on evidence or perspective.

Can 'probable' change over time?

Yes, as new information or conditions arise.

Is 'probable' a definitive statement?

Not entirely; it's strong but not absolute.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons