As a non-native English speaker, I wonder what the difference is between the following sentences:

It's a chance to work with you.
It's an opportunity to work with you.

I ask this question, because in french, a literal translation lead to different meanings: In French, "chance" means in this case an honor and "opportunité" can have a negative connotation (I will benefit from you, but not necessarily you from me).

So what are the exact meanings of the two sentence (with their connotations) ?


The exact sentences you offer would only be appropriate in some contexts; e.g., where the speaker just finished describing a working arrangement. They do not mean — as I suspect you may think they do — anything particularly positive, as "I'm lucky to have the opportunity/chance to work with you" does. Rather, they mean only "It [=the thing mentioned] would entail my (or X's) working with you, which is unusual".

And they are completely interchangeable in my idiolect.

  • This is for an application, and the original expression is a lot more complex. So I simplified it to be sure to use the good term. In french the problem of "opportunité", is that it can be understood as a one-way process. Is it also the case in english? – Vincent Oct 15 '13 at 2:44
  • @Vincent I would need to see the context, but opportunity does not typically imply sponging. – msh210 Oct 15 '13 at 2:46

You are misled by apparently similar words which have entirely different meanings, in English and French :

"chance" in English is just a possibility (good or bad) ; in French, it is always good.

In "if you eat too much, you have a chance of having an early death", "chance" would obviously be translated by "risque".

"opportunity" in English is always positive ; in French, "opportunité" is just a possibility.

So, the first sentence should be understood as : "Il n'est pas impossible que nous travaillions ensemble".

And the second : "C'est un bonheur de travailler avec vous".

  • I would translate the English 'opportunity', into French as 'occasion'. 'Je n'avais pas l'occasion d'aller au Canada.'( I didn't have the opportunity to go to Canada). I can't ever remember using 'opportunité' in French. I must look in my Hachette. But to the OP please realise that French can be as much a hindrance as a help in understanding English, especially in the field of vocabulary. There are many 'faux amis' false friends. Words that look exactly the same but mean quite different things in the two languages. – WS2 Oct 15 '13 at 17:14

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