ACTIVITY - PROBABILITY PHRASES
A probability is a numerical measure of the likelihood of a statement.
It can be difficult to assign probabilities to statements. For
example, it may be difficult to assign your probability of a nuclear war in
hundred years. But we use words, such as unlikely,
occasionally, even-chance, and rarely,
to indicate the chances that
a particular event will occur.
We would like to assign numbers (called probabilities) to these
words. Before we try to do this, we'll rank different words from
least likely to most likely.
An unlikely word is a word such as never
which indicates a small chance of happening.
A likely word is a word such as probable
which indicates a large chance of happening.
For each pair of words below, circle the word that you believe
indicates a greater chance of happening.
It may be helpful to use these words in a particular context.
For example, if you like sports, you might use the sentence
"BGSU ______ will defeat
Miami in hockey," where
the probability phrase goes in the blank.
To answer the first question below, ask yourself:
Which statement indicates a greater
likelihood of happening -- "BGSU
sometimes will defeat Miami in hockey" or
often will defeat Miami in hockey"?
If you think the word often means a larger likelihood,
you circle the word often below.
sometimes / often
always / very-frequent
seldom / even-chance
unlikely / possible
sometimes / even-chance
very-frequent / often
Now make a list of the eight
words sometimes, often, always, very-frequent,
seldom, even-chance, unlikely, possible ,
where the most likely word is on top and the least likely word is at the
Now assign numbers to the eight words -- put these
numbers to the right of the words. The numbers you assign should be
consistent with the ordering of the words you made in part 2.
Page Author: Jim Albert (© 1996)
Last Modified: November 24, 1996