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ESL forum > Ask for help > chance vs occasion vs possibility vs opportunity    

chance vs occasion vs possibility vs opportunity


chance vs occasion vs possibility vs opportunity
Hi everybody,
I am doing the use of English part of the FCE I am giving my students to do tomorrow. In the multiple choice exercise they have to choose among the words mentioned above: chance / occasion / possibility / opportunity. The problem is that I have never been able to explain the difference of these words even though I have looked up for clear explanations /examples in many books. There must be hundreds of webpages which provide good explanations but since I am not good on tech and I do not trust the internet too much I prefer to post this question in the forum (cos I do rely on you). It would be grateful if anyone could provide me with some of those brilliant explanations I tend to read in this forum. Thanks in advance. Have a nice day!

29 Nov 2010      



Check out these links (Oxford Advanced Learner īs Dictionary - so that īs a reliable source)- pay particular attention to the context in which each word is used, especially idiomatic expressions and the "Usage Notes" box:


Perhaps it would be better if you also posted the questions they have to answer, as sometimes you may find such words in certain fixed phrases, etc., or there might be a very slight difference in meaning that can only be understood within context.

29 Nov 2010     


First of all, thanks magneto for your quick answer. I will have a look at the given link right now. But before that I am posting the question (silly me not to have done it in the first post):
"Many young people dream about sailing on oceans around the world, but few actually get the ____________ to do it."
A. possibility      B. chance      C. occasion      D. opportunity
Key: chance
Could opportunity be right? Both B and D sound right to me. Anyway, I always choose any of this words without knowing their exact meaning. So, I would also highly appreciate an explanation for each word and clear examples to provide my students with tomorrow. Thanks again.

29 Nov 2010     


Oh, this is interesting...My first response would have been that in this case you can use both.
According to Macmillan Dictionary, though, you have/ get a chance to do sth, while there is an opportunity for sth/ doing sth or you take the opportunity to do sth, which is slightly different in meaning:
opportunity vs. chance

Hope that helps a bit!

P.S.: Perhaps Les could be more helpful...He always gives the best explanations...Les, where are you???

29 Nov 2010     

Czech Republic

The right answer is "....actually get the chance to do it"

possiblity - there is a possibility - the event is BEYOND control of the speaker (weather...)

occassion - we HAVE the great occasion, there is an occassion = there is a time for..., there are some occassions, I go to the circus on some occassions = sometimes, On this occassion we need to discuss several topics...

opportunity - they TAKE the opportunity, there is an opportunity, have opportunity to travel there (as Bruce said)

chance - they GET the chance (less formal than "take the opportunity"),
get / be / have / give a chance, the chance remain...., by chance, ...

There was just the slightest chance that he loved her too. There wasnīt a slightest chance waiting for me.
He didīt give me the slightest chance, I lost the game. So it wasnīt by chance that he met the girls at the door. (accidentally)

29 Nov 2010     

United States

There is also "have the opportunity to do something". The correct answer with "get" is definitely "chance", as you said.
I īm sorry, but I didn īt have the opportunity to call you this weekend.

29 Nov 2010