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Is an Opportunity a Possibility and a Chance?: a semantic study of three similar nouns
2005 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The aim of this essay was to find out whether opportunity, possibility and chance could be considered synonymous and if and when they are interchangeable. Articles, native speakers of English as informants, definitions from five English dictionaries and the computerized British National Corpus have been used to define the meaning and usage of the three terms. It has been shown that Swedes overuse possibility. The three terms have been said to have different connotations. The native speakers’ attitude towards the choice between opportunity, possibility and chance showed that it is often a matter of personal opinion whether one of the terms is chosen. The dictionaries together with the corpus show that the terms may sometimes, but not always, be regarded as synonyms. The present study suggests that chance covers more meanings than either opportunity or possibility and could be said to cover a larger semantic domain. This essay shows that opportunity, possibility and chance are interchangeable in some contexts but this often implies a slight change of meaning. The semantic domains of opportunity, possibility and chance are partly entwined and share a semantic area (see front picture). They also cover different semantic areas: opportunity in the work/educational/career area, possibility in the scientific/research area and chance as the most colloquial of the terms, the one which is used in most idioms and informal expressions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Humanities Theology, Linguistics, synonyms, semantics
Keyword [sv]
Humaniora, Teologi
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-52207ISRN: LTU-CUPP--05/035--SELocal ID: 958d99bc-a221-427d-9369-326b0cc49a0fOAI: diva2:1025577
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 15 credits
Educational program
English, bachelor's level
Validerat; 20101217 (root)Available from: 2016-10-04 Created: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved

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