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OCCASION vs. OPPORTUNITY vs. POSSIBILITY

Occasion

Meaning

a particular time when something happens.

Typical collocations

Adjectives: formal, historic, memorable, rare, solemn, special, unique

Verbs: mark an occasion, rise to the occasion

Use: on one occasion, the occasion when + clause

Examples

  • My sister’s wedding was a very special occasion.
  • I think it would be better if I went alone on this occasion.
  • I met him only on a particular occasion.

Opportunity

Meaning

a situation in which it is possible to do something you want to do.

Typical collocations

Adjectives: equal, excellent, great, golden, perfect, tremendous, welcome

Verbs: have, lose, miss, seize, take + the opportunity, opportunity + arise/occur

Use: the opportunity to do something, the opportunity for + Noun

Examples

  • I’m going to work in Hong Kong for a year. It’s a great opportunity.
  • I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity of working with Paul.
  • She put the phone down before I had the opportunity to reply.

Possibility

Meaning

a situation where something may or may not happen.

Typical collocations

Adjectives: definite, distinct, real, remote, serious, slight, strong

Verbs: face, accept, rule out, recognise, ignore + the possibility

Use: the possibility of doing something [not possibility to do], the possibility that + clause

Examples

  • There’s a definite possibility of a strike by train drivers next week.
  • It’s not likely to happen but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility.
  • The forecast said that there’s a possibility of snow tonight.

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Occasion vs. Opportunity vs. Possibility (1)