Is it standard English to use the modal "will" with the adjective "likely" that follows infinitive verb as in the following examples. I was told that the adjective likely has already the sense of future and it should be used with linking verbs. Therefore, it would be wrong to use modal "will" with it. However, there are many examples written by different sources, such as newspapers, universities, on the Internet.

For example :

This will likely to do more damage than good.

...even though in reality they stand to profit and will likely to do so.


Google Ngram also gives different results.

  • 2
    I've only ever heard, will be likely to do, or will likely do.
    – vpn
    Feb 15, 2017 at 0:32
  • Likely just expresses a high probability, which one may apply to a judgment made in any tense. After the assassination of the Crown Prince, Serbia was not likely to have found an path to avoid war with Austria-Hungary.
    – deadrat
    Feb 15, 2017 at 1:57

1 Answer 1


I can't find the first quote, about "damage" in the linked article.

The second quote contains a typographical error. Perhaps the proofreader missed it; perhaps there was no proofreader.

The Trump camp may not even see these moves as compromising. Trump argued throughout the campaign that his wealth actually shielded him from corruption, so it stands to reason that he’d think that other billionaires would be similarly inured to conflicts of interest, even though in reality they stand to profit and will likely to do so.

There are two ways of correcting the part in bold:

  1. will likely do so.

  2. are likely to do so.

(1) means will probably do so. Here, "likely* is used as an adverb.

(2) means are predicted to do so. Here, "likely" is used as an adjective.

What you were told sounds good to me, when you're using the adjective.

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