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How do we say

The possibility of dying in a car crash here, is always at the maximum rate

correctly? Is the above sentence correct? I don't want it to sound very formal.

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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

This is just my two cents, but the phrase maximum rate denotes a sense of urgency that you may or may not want to replicate in a more mechanically sound manner. You might try some other words that carry urgency and the idea of "impossible odds." Stay away from the word rate as it's used more to describe a degree of progress, speed, or development (rate of change, rate of growth) and is not really suited to odds or probability. Here's something to go with the word possibility

  • The possibility of dying in a car crash here is alarmingly real

You can use this example (or something similar) to sort of bring the threat of death forward from the realm of possibility, where now the driver (and reader) have to be afraid of it, evoking panic and intensity.

The only pitfall to the word possibility is that it's usually met with a sort of true-or-false reaction. Either something is possible or not. If you use words that describe odds, chances, or probability your fatal car crash goes from could happen to almost certainly will happen

  • The odds for surviving this place are (gravely, dangerously, seriously) steep
  • A fatal car crash happening here always seems to be imminent
  • ...seems to be guaranteed
  • ...seems to be inescapable

Your other option is to approach from another angle like the other answers have:

  • Avoiding a fatal car crash here hardly seems possible

These are just my suggestions, I hope it helped

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Thanks for the thorough answer. Helped me to clearly understand the usage of the word. –  Kamyar Nov 27 '11 at 6:31
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I would say "The probability of dying in a car crash in this area is very high"

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If you don't want to sound too formal, I think these three are the best options:

There's a high possibility of dying in a car crash in this area.

or

A car crash in this area would very probably result in death.

or

It's very unlikely to survive a car crash in this area.

To answer whether your original sentence is correct: You have to erase the comma, as it cannot be there. Apart from that, the sentence is too complicated and sounds awkward, but I wouldn't say it's ungrammatical, if you omit the comma, that is.

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"High possibility" sounds non-native to me. I generally hear the combinations "strong possibility" and "high probability." –  onomatomaniak Nov 26 '11 at 16:25
    
While the distinction you made (strong possibility/high probability) sounds pleasant to my ears, "high possibility" does seem to be a common phrase as I found it used several times on the BBC News website. One example: bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12931727 –  Bjorn Nov 26 '11 at 20:43
    
As @Rant says below, possibility does not have a rate. Possibility is measured as a value, not as a rate. So the sentence is not correct, even without the comma. Re rate, see investorwords.com/5752/rate.html. The sentence would be fine without the comma, -and- without the word 'rate'. –  Bobbi Bennett Nov 27 '11 at 4:07
    
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