Likely x Probable x Possible x Expected

Boa noite!
Estava resolvendo um exercício para o FCE no qual deve ser escolhido a melhor palavra que se encaixa em cada espaço. Pelo que eu conheço desse tipo de atividade na prova do FCE as palavras são semelhantes, elas tem poucos detalhes de diferença entre si; por isso gostaria de entende melhor a diferença entre essas 4 palavras e porquê as outras 3 não estão corretas para o contexto a seguir:

However, contrary to such fears, recent research suggests that people who use such sites actually a higher number of close realionships and are more __________ to be involved in civic and political activities than those who don't.

A. Likely
B. Probable
C. Possible
D. Expected


Obs.: Já li aqui no site o tópico "Likely vs. Probable", mas mesmo assim não consegui compreender essas diferenças

Desde já agradeço!

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1 resposta
PPAULO (online) 6 46 1.1k
As far I know, the collocations "more expected to be" or 'more possible to be" would be a bit unusual. More so, with the surrounding context.

By the way, I saw elsewhere a good reasoning about 'more possible', it goes "something is either possible or it's not." So, 'more possible' is illogical in terms (something equivalent to "mais grande" in Portuguese - in Spanish such structure seems acceptable though.)
Most possible, yes, but it's a topic to another day.

Then the remaining words - more probable vs more likely.

More likely is more natural in that chunk of text. I like the StackExchange approach to it:
"likely" feels like a gut instinct word, while "probable" feels like careful reasoning. "Likely" may be intended to link to people's instinctual understanding of when things are likely or not.

Then
Probable creates an image about the chance of a single event happening or not. Likely has an inbuilt comparison of two competing events somehow.

As far I know, the collocations "more expected to be" or 'more possible to be" would be a bit unusual. More so, with the surrounding context.

By the way, I saw elsewhere a good reasoning about 'more possible', it goes "something is either possible or it's not." So, 'more possible' is illogical in terms (something equivalent to "mais grande" in Portuguese - in Spanish such structure seems acceptable though.)
Most possible, yes, but it's a topic to another day.

Then the remaining words - more probable vs more likely.

More likely is more natural in that chunk of text. I like the StackExchange approach to it:
"likely" feels like a gut instinct word, while "probable" feels like careful reasoning. "Likely" may be intended to link to people's instinctual understanding of when things are likely or not.

Then
Probable creates an image about the chance of a single event happening or not. Likely has an inbuilt comparison of two competing events somehow.
...and are more __________ to be involved in civic and political activities than those who don't.
Thus, the reasoning applied to the text would lead us to the following conclusions:

The single event here is "to be involved in civic and political activities than those who don't" (who don't use such sites)
You can attach to it "the fact of having a higher number of close relationships", this fact 'plus' "to be involved in civic and political activities" would be taken as a 'single event'.

Then, we see the 'inbuilt' comparison between the said events: back to the "to be or not be" already mentioned here.

"More probable" would be something that involves probability, some more within the realm of possibilities, or mathematical possibilities. Here would be more about reason, than emotion.

So, "having a number of close relationships plus being willing to be involved in civic activities, etc" narrows to two (competing) outcomes, to be or not to be involved.

I hope this helps. Let's wait for further comments and insights.
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