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I am working as software engineer.

I have to use sentences like 'it is impossible' or it is not possible' in many emails.

I want to know that both are same or some has more impossible look than other?

marked as duplicate by Dan Bron, FumbleFingers, lbf, GEdgar, tchrist Apr 18 '18 at 13:01

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  • 1
    Is there an equivalent of the single word “impossible” in your mother tongue? If so, is there a difference between “impossible” and “not possible” in your language? The short answer is they mean the same thing. – Dan Bron Apr 18 '18 at 11:44
  • @DanBron No, in our language we have not a single word for impossible, in our language we have to always use equal two words for not possible – I am the Most Stupid Person Apr 18 '18 at 11:50

Practically speaking, I would say there is no difference. However, I believe there is a very subtle difference.


"Can I talk to the manager?"

"No, I'm afraid that's not possible." (She's busy at the moment.)
"No, I'm afraid that's impossible." (She's dead.)

Or, better:

Because the stores are all closed, it's not currently possible to go shopping.
Because the stores are all closed, it's currently impossible to go shopping.

I would argue that the phrase currently impossible, while technically correct, is not one that is as commonly used.

To me, impossible, at least in this sense, implies more of a permanence than does not possible. With not possible, the situation may be permanent; but with impossible, it's less likely to be temporary.

So (again, to me), not possible means an arbitrary set of circumstances whereby something just happens to not be the case at the moment. Meanwhile, impossible means a categorical situation that can never be met (1+1=3).

However, that very subtle and debatable difference aside (and I've certainly heard people say "that's impossible" in response to a temporary situation when being asked for someone or something), they are interchangeable.

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    I agree with the subtle connotation of permanence or difficulty in using "impossible". The franchise isn't called Mission: Not Possible for a reason! – Nuclear Wang Apr 18 '18 at 12:55

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