The phrase “most probably” likely sounds a little strange. However, is it actually wrong? Is this a phrase that could actually be used in everyday speech, or should it be avoided?
We’ll be discussing the answer to that question today.
Is It Correct to Say “Most Probably”?
While it may sound a little strange, it is grammatically correct to say “most probably”. It is simply a way to say that something is more probable than “probably” infers alone. “Most probably” is just a synonym for “most likely”, which is commonly used and accepted.
When it comes to describing how likely something is to occur or exist, there are ways to express the differences in probability. Is something very probable? Or improbable? In the same way, you can attach words like “most” and “least” to probably to get the same meaning.
For example, let’s say that you are discussing something that is possible, but very unlikely to happen. Such a discussion may include a sentence like this:
- We don’t know the identity of the criminal, but it was least probably a child.
While this sentence definitely sounds a little off (it’s more common to say “least likely” or “unlikely”), it’s not actually wrong. This sentence simply states that, of all the possibilities, the identity of the criminal is least likely to be a child. Of course, you can do this in the reverse as well:
- I have to check my schedule, but most probably, I will be there.
In this sentence, “most probably” simply indicates that it is very likely (or rather, more likely than all other alternatives) for the speaker to show up at whatever is being discussed. There is stronger emphasis here on the likelihood of the probability being discussed than “probably” alone provides.
So, it is correct to use “most probably”. But admittedly, it sounds a little odd, and not everyone will be comfortable using it. If you are such a person, we’ve compiled a list of what to say instead of “most probably” in the section below.
Other Ways to Say “Most Probably”
Other ways to say “most probably” are: “most likely, almost certainly”, and “quite probably”. All three of these phrases mean the same thing as “most probably”, stating that something is so likely to occur or exist that the chances of any alternative outcome are very slim.
These are not the only options as synonyms for “most probably”, but we will cover the other alternatives in more detail below.
1. Most Likely
“Most likely” is a very common phrase that means the same thing as “most probably”. It’s just a way to say that the likelihood of something is very high. In some cases, this phrase may be reserved for the most probable outcome of all. It can be directly switched with “most probably” in all sentences.
- The most likely cause of this damage to your wires is rodents chewing on them.
- Tim is most likely at work right now, but I’ll relay your message to him when he returns.
2. Almost Certainly
“Almost certainly” is another phrase that refers to the very high likelihood of something. It can directly replace “most probably” in any sentence to achieve the same meaning. It does come across as more formal than “most probably”, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
- We have almost certainly seen this episode before, if my memory serves.
- The culprit for this crime was almost certainly Colonel Mustard.
3. Quite Probably
While “quite probably” does not put as much emphasis on the high likelihood of something, it does still create more emphasis than “probably” does by itself. It can directly replace “most probably” in any sentence, making it very easy to use correctly as a synonym.
- This is quite probably the most unusual thing I have ever heard someone say.
- At this hour, James will quite probably be at the arcade. He always goes after school.
4. Very Likely
“Very likely” is a direct synonym to “most probably”. It is just another way to say that something is extra probable, instead of just “normal” probable. It is much more common of a phrase than “most probably” and tends to sound more natural, making it a good idea to use as an alternative.
- It is very likely that it is going to rain today, so be sure to pack an umbrella.
- Though she isn’t admitting it to anyone, it seems very likely that Grandma is sick.
5. A High Chance
While it cannot directly replace “most probably”, with a slight bit of tweaking to sentence structure, “a high chance” means effectively the same thing. You would simply say “there is a high chance of” something. It’s a bit of a wordier alternative but sounds natural and is easy to use.
- There’s a high chance that Kyla is in her room reading a book right now.
- I’m not sure if we’ll actually get any snow today, but there’s a high chance of it.
6. Least Improbable
While this synonym may sound a little strange at first, it actually makes sense. If something is the “least improbable” option, that means it is also the “most probable” option. In this way, “least improbable” can be used to get the same message across as “most probably”, though only in the right contexts.
- The least improbable outcome of a tornado is that some buildings get damaged.
- If you’re looking for Marcy, the least improbable location to check is the living room.
“Likeliest” is a simple word to use instead of “most probably”, while meaning the exact same thing. It’s always a good idea to be as concise as possible in speech, so using one word if it gets the point of two across is a good idea.
- The likeliest result of this summer vacation is that I’ll forget much of what I learned in school last year.
- If you drive while under the influence of alcohol, getting into or causing an accident is the likeliest outcome.
8. Most Feasibly
You can say “most feasible” or “most feasibly” in place of “most probably”. To say that something is “feasible” means that it is likely or possible, so saying “most feasibly” is the same as saying “most probably”. However, some people may be confused by the somewhat advanced vocabulary.
- The results of this research will most feasibly be ignored by the populace.
- Most feasibly, we will be unable to find tickets for the concert a mere day in advance.
9. In All Likelihood
“In all likelihood” is a somewhat dated way of saying “most probably”. Because it’s a wordy option, there are definitely better synonyms to use. However, “in all likelihood” is still a usable synonym that implies a higher level of probability than the usual.
- In all likelihood, we are going to miss our train to Busan.
- Hubert is, in all likelihood, ignoring us after our fight yesterday.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.