When someone says "If X happens then Y may/can happen" what does he mean? He means what are the possible scenarios or the probable scenarios? Should we use may or can interchangeable in such sentences?

  • 3
    Your question title doesn't reflect the body of the question. Neither may nor can indicates probability (other than a probability greater than zero). – Andrew Leach May 9 '20 at 12:15
  • When someone says "may" or "can" as in your example, it means that it is possible. Not that it is probable. – GEdgar May 9 '20 at 12:53

"Possible" sounds like exploring and identifying the full horizontal trade space of how an object ("scenarios" in this case) can be manifested.

"Probable" sounds like a subset of the "Possible" elements that have higher probability of occurring. In other words, Probable sounds stronger and more resolute than Possible.

Higher probability of a scenario happening among all the possible events...

Just my impressions... although,,, I'm now being swayed to think, having written above, that they might be conveying exactly the same thing.

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