Spanish expressions: Es posible…, es probable…, probablemente…

es posible es probable probablemente

When speaking Spanish, there are three expressions that will help you express probability with ease. They are Es posible, Es probable, and Probablemente. These Spanish phrases are pretty common and most native speakers use them in their daily lives. Since we are talking about probability, there’s a chance that what we say might come true or not. But, let’s say that Es posible, even though expresses possibility, some natives use it to express probability.

The difference between possibility and probability can be sometimes confusing. Then, in this article, you’ll learn not only how to use these expressions but how to differentiate possibility from probability.


How to use es posible


The expression Es posible means that it can be or happen, or also, that we can do it. But, this does not mean that it will happen, just that it has a high probability of happening. By this, we mean that it can also express probabilities. Let’s see a few examples,


Es posible que llueva hoy, ha estado nublado toda la mañana.

It may rain today, it has been cloudy all morning.


Es posible que mañana vaya a visitar a mi mama, iba a ir hoy pero tuve trabajo extra en la oficina.

It is possible that tomorrow I will visit my mom. I was going to go today but I had extra work at the office.


Tu hermano también es un ser humano, es posible que cometa errores, así que no lo culpes por todo.

Your brother is also a human being, he may make mistakes, so don’t blame him for everything.


You can also use es posible to ask questions. This is a very formal way of asking something, which is why it is one of the most common. For example,


Disculpa, ¿es posible que usted me pase el vaso de agua, por favor?

Excuse me, can you pass me the glass of water, please?


Profesora, ¿es posible que pueda cambiar el examen para el día jueves?

Professor, is it possible that I can change the exam for Thursday?


On the flip side, you can also use es posible in negative sentences. In this case, we have to add the adverb of negation “no” before the expression. For example,


No es posible que hayas hecho eso, ahora mamá nos matara a los dos! / You can’t possibly have done that, now mom will kill us both!


Ya lo intentamos y no es posible dar con el problema. / We already tried it and it is not possible to find the problem.


Please note that when you express possibility, you are considering some factors in a situation that leads you to think that doing the action is possible. Yet, when you talk about probability, you express what are the chances for something to happen.


Differences between es probable and probablemente


In Spanish, the word probable is an adjective. Therefore, when we use the expression es probable Spanish speakers refer to something not so sure that it is very possible of happening or existing.


The word Probable can also refer to something that can be proven or demonstrated while the word probablemente is an adverb. Even though probablemente has the same meaning as “probable” you will use it to modify verbs and not nouns. This word comes from the combination of the word probable and the suffix -mente. Here are some examples of both alternatives.


Es probable que no vaya mañana, es que tengo fiebre desde temprano y aún no se me pasa.

I probably won’t go tomorrow, it’s just that I’ve had a fever since early and it still hasn’t gone away.


Probablemente, me quede a dormir aquí en casa de Teresa, ya es tarde y salir a esta hora es un poco peligroso.

Probably, I’llsleep here at Teresa’s, it’s already late, and going out at this time is a bit dangerous.


Bueno, seguro te dio ese regalo porque probablemente eres una gran amiga y te aprecia mucho.

Well, she probably gave you that gift because you’re probably a great friend and she appreciates you a lot.


Additionally, you can use es probable when we talk about something you can verify. However, you can also use it as a connection word to the consequence of an action. For example,


Queremos contratar a alguien con al menos tres años de experiencia probable en programación.

We would like to hire someone with at least three years of provable experience in programming.


Como está lloviendo tan fuerte, es probable que cancelen el concierto al aire libre, no se podrán presentar así.

Since it’s raining so hard, they’ll probably cancel the outdoor concert, they won’t be able to perform like this.


Es posible vs es probable


As said, you must know that determining that something es posible is not the same as stating that something es probable. Therefore, we will see the meanings of both terms.


When you speak of es probable, you refer to a situation that may or may not happen. As a result, you talk about probability and you measure the chances of something happening. You can even rely on evidence or reasons that support what you say.


In another context, the expression es posible refers to different events that can happen under certain conditions. In this case, you talk about possibility, and because of that, all conditions have to be met. If certain conditions or factors aren’t met, the scenario will result as impossible.


Here are a few examples of both cases


Es probable que el sábado me vaya de viaje con mi familia porque vi a mi papá comprando los pasajes.

It is likely that on Saturday I will go on a trip with my family because I saw my dad buying the tickets.


¿Es posible que vengas a mi casa después de comer? Es que tengo mucho que contarte.

Is it possible for you to come to my house after eating? I have a lot to tell you.


Generally speaking, Es posible, Es probable, and Probablemente are indeed useful Spanish expressions but you have to pay attention when you use them. Although you can use all of them to talk about probability, not all of them help you talk about the possibility. Different from Es posible and Es probable,  the word Probablemente is an adverb and it modifies verbs. On the other hand, es posible and es probable are adjectival phrases and will help you describe or modify nouns. Don’t hesitate to make use of these words and improve your Spanish speaking skills.







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