Do you meet your friends when you have the opportunity (chanc3)? Or did you run into someone by chance (without planning)? There are so many words and phrases in English that have to do with chances and opportunities that we figured we would single out a few (identify, discuss a few individually) words of possibility this week.

If you want to expand your vocabulary with words of possibility, then read on!


According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of opportunity is: a favorable juncture of circumstances; a good chance for advancement or progress.

A phrase you may hear often in English is “if you have the opportunity…” This phrase can be used in formal business writing, for example: “Please fill out this form today, if you have the opportunity. But it needs to be completed by (until, due date) tomorrow at the latest.” In this sense, it means when you find a spare (free, extra) moment.

I like to describe it as a door being open, you just have to walk through it.

For example:

  • Students will have an opportunity to travel abroad in their 5th semester.
  • I have the opportunity to apply for a really good job, but I don’t know whether to do it. I like the job I have now.


Chance, according to the dictionary means: something that happens unpredictably without discernible human intention or observable cause.

This means something happens due to (because of) luck. A common collocation you may hear is “by chance.” For example, if you run into a friend on the street by chance, you saw them without planning it. It was pure luck, or coincidence.

For example:

  • I saw Crystal by chance while walking around in Dublin yesterday. It was great to see such a wonderful friend!
  • She ran into her boss on Saturday by chance. She had never seen him outside of the office before!


The definition of possibility is: a thing that may happen or be the case.

You probably guessed already that possibility is one of the best words of possibility in English! If you have the possibility to go to France in the spring, it means that it could happen that you go to France. It may happen, it may not happen, but the possibility is there.

For example:

  • He has the possibility to go on a work trip this spring, but he’s not sure yet.
  • At my work, we have the possibility to work from home two days per week.


Do you go out to a club “on occasion?” An occasion can be an event, such as when you say, “I only wear a suit for a special occasion,” (I only wear a suit for a special event), but if you do something on occasion, it means that you do something from time to time.

You might not always do this activity, like going to a club, but you may go once a month, or once every two months. Is this one of the words of possibility you knew? Or is this a new one for you?

For example:

  • I like to go to the beach on occasion during the summer. It’s too crowded for me to go all the time!
  • When I was a kid, we would only go out to eat on occasion. Usually, we would eat at home.


What are the odds you know this phrase? The dictionary defines odds as: the probability that one thing is so or will happen. So if you say, “what are the odds that I run into my college roommate today?” you are wondering how likely it would be to run into your college roommate. The answer could be, “Zero”, or “Very likely” or “Not so likely,” etc.

For example:

  • The odds are that I won’t win the lottery. But I like to play anyway!
  • Odds are I won’t be in town then, but I’ll let you know.

Is it likely you’ll use some of these words of possibility sometime soon? We certainly hope so! Try out some of these phrases and words of possibility in a sentence, leave it in the comments below, and we’ll let you know how you did when we get an opportunity!

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Check out these other popular blogs: Taboo words in English7 Synonyms for Being Drunk7 American English Slang Words, or these Sports Idioms used in English!

Looking for more grammar? Try Tricky Adjectives and Adverbs, when to use Which and That, Order of Adjectives, Its vs It’s, and Present Continuous tense!

Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and she is always up for a new opportunity, excited to take chances, and always beats the odds! 

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