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Possible vs Plausible


  • ‘Possible’ (adj) means ‘able to happen’.
  • ‘Plausible’ (adj) means ‘likely to be true’.

What’s the difference between ‘possible’ and ‘plausible’?

Because they sound quite similar, these are two adjectives that are easily confused. Their meanings appear similar too, though it is important to understand the subtle difference.

  • When you refer to something as being possible, you make a judgment about how likely it is to happen (i.e. not certain, less than probable, but not entirely unlikely).
  • When you refer to a situation as being plausible, you make a judgment about how likely it is to be true (i.e. quite likely).

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How they’re used

Example sentences with ‘possible’

  • The treatment involves possible complications.
  • Possible causes are lack of engagement and miscommunication.

Example sentences with ‘plausible’

  • This scenario was considered by authors as the more plausible.
  • This is a plausible explanation for the observed outcome.