Difference Between Probability and Possibility

Probability vs Possibility

Probability and Possibility are two words that are often confused due to resemblance in their meanings. Strictly speaking they show some differences between them. The word ‘probability’ is used mainly in statistical calculations and would mean ‘occurrence in random’. On the other hand the word ‘possibility’ is used in the sense of ‘can’. This is the main difference between probability and possibility.

Probability refers to the likelihood of something happening. The likelihood of some event or happening is often referred to by the word probability. In other words it can be said that probability indicates the extent to which an event is likely to occur. It is usually measured by the ratio of the favorable cases to the whole number of cases that are possible. Hence it can be said that probability is a subset of possibility.

Possibility is the universal set whereas probability is the subset. This is the main difference between the two words. The expression ‘in all probability’ suggests the meaning of ‘most probably’. Possibility is surer to occur than probability. Possibility has its opposite in the word impossibility whereas probability has its opposite in the word improbability.

A thing that may exist or happen is called as possibility whereas the occurrence of an event out of all sorts of possibility is called as probability. The word ‘probability’ thus involves the application of permutation and combination. Probability takes into account permutations and combinations to arrive at a conclusion regarding the occurrence of an event among all the possibilities.

Probability is a theory whereas possibility is a happening. This is one of the main differences between the two. Happenings have to combine together to make a probability a possibility. In other words it can be said that probability solely rests on the availability of possibilities.