tbrou34 wrote: ↑Wed Oct 27, 2021 11:07 am
I am confused about whether or not “unlikely” is inclusive of “could.” If something is unlikely, can we infer that that something is possible? What exactly can we infer from a statement using “unlikely”?
They can overlap, but they also include outcomes that do not overlap. Let me explain using numbers along a 0-100 "truth" line, where 0 = never
and 100 = always
- Could means 1 to 100. In other words, everything BUT never.
Unlikely means 0 to 49. This is the opposite of Likely, which means 51-100. Note that unlikely does not allow you to infer something will happen; it is possible it does not happen.
So, between 1 and 49 they overlap. But as you move towards the endpoints, each term covers possibilities that the other does not. This is true of many words pairs (Could be True and Not Necessarily True, for example), and so it's not unusual at all.