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General Writing and Grammar Help/meaning of "more likely than not"

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Question
Dear Ted,
I'm not sure if I understand the meaning of the expression "more likely than not", I think it means "probably". Is my understanding of the expression correct? In other words, do the following sentences make sense and are they grammatically correct?
1. More likely than not it will rain tomorrow.
2. It's more likely than not it will rain tomorrow.
3. More likely than not he's telling the truth.
4. It's more likely than not he's telling the truth.

Answer
Dear Glen:

I'm not sure if I understand the meaning of the expression "more likely than not", I think it means "probably". Is my understanding of the expression correct? In other words, do the following sentences make sense and are they grammatically correct?
1. More likely than not it will rain tomorrow.
2. It's more likely than not it will rain tomorrow.
3. More likely than not he's telling the truth.
4. It's more likely than not he's telling the truth.

*** Think of percentages.  If Johnny has a 30% chance to win the contest, you CANNOT use the phrase "more likely than not."  If, however, Johnny has an 80% chance to win, you can expresses his chance as "more likely than not."  It's hard to put a definite number on someone's opportunity to win, but I would consider 75% and above to be "more like than not."

Your sentences are good, except for #2.  The problem with it is that you have one too many "ifs."
You can change the sentence this way:  It's more likely than not that there will be rain tomorrow.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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