What would be the difference between chance and opportunity?
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closed as off-topic by Andrew Leach♦ Dec 10 '15 at 12:05
This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:
When someone gets a chance or an opportunity, as in
the words are essentially identical.
However, when someone takes a chance, that is very different from taking an opportunity. "Taking a chance" is doing something that has a significant risk of failure; you are betting on something that could very well go against you. "Taking an opportunity" is seizing a moment where you can do something to improve your standing in some way (get a raise, get introduced to a person you like, or even something as simple as resting up in preparation for an event later ("I took the opportunity to grab a short nap", for example.)
In other scenarios, "Chance" will tend to refer to a neutral event has some uncertainty attached to it ("there's a chance of rain later today") whereas "Opportunity" will still tend to refer to the possibility of doing something that benefits you. (I don't think you'll ever hear "There's an opportunity of rain later today.")
The difference between chance and opportunity is risk. That is, an opportunity is positive, even when used in the negative. It's a gift, or a goal earned, generally with positive consequences.
"I gave him the opportunity to make an ass of himself.", is just as correct as "I gave him the opportunity to earn that raise he wanted.", but in the first case the benefit is to the speaker, not the victim.
Chance, on the other hand, implies loss if you fail to grasp success in the endeavor.
"I took a chance on love.", risks a broken heart. Games of chance risk financial loss. It also, in my opinion, implies a lack of planned progress. You make opportunities. You get chances.
These are two words which can occasionally be used more or less interchangeably, but often cannot. Picture a Venn diagram.
There are a great deal of differences; since you haven't asked for any specific ones, I'll just give you a couple of my favorites.
Blackjack is described as a "game of chance." I've not heard it described as a "game of opportunity."
However, if you were looking at the want ads, you might find an "opportunity" to work as a blackjack dealer. You'd want to show up to the interview looking and feeling your best as you meet your potential new employer. In this economy, you wouldn't leave such things to chance.
Opportune has a very nice etymology:
This gives opportunity the sense of "fitness, suitableness, favorable time," - in reference to the wind that is suitable to take the ship into a harbor.
On the other hand,
has etymology that is not so specific (however what is relevant is the note that the notion of "opportunity" is old).
Chance is definitively much wider term that can be:
Thus, for every opportunity can be said that it is a chance, but not everything that chance can refer to can be called an opportunity.