Is it possible - Would it be Possible - Detailed Explanation

vocabulary Jan 24, 2022
is it possible would it be possible

"Is it possible" - "Would it be Possible" - Learn these English Phrases

The English language is peculiar. When we demand something, by using the imperative form of a verb, it is considered rude in many cases. Instead, we should use indirect language without commands. This is considered more polite. However, it can result in confusion when people try to be so politely indirect that they fail to communicate effectively. "Is it possible...?" and "Would it be possible...?" are two phrases that can be used to to replace a command with a question.

"Is it possible" and "Would it be Possible" - Meaning with Sentences

The key difference between "is it possible" and "would it be possible" is that the word "would" changes the sentence by making it hypothetical. When we ask a waiter or waitress at a café, "Is it possible to get more napkins at our table?" we are asking about a real situation that is happening right now.

But when we ask them, "Would it be possible to get more napkins at our table?" it introduces a hypothetical situation. Basically we are asking, "Is there any situation where it would be possible to get more napkins at our table?" This is a more indirect way to ask the question, which makes it even more polite.

"Is it possible" - Different Ways of Using this English Phrase

Generally speaking, "Is it possible...?" is a phrase used to make a request. Instead of using a command, such as "Turn the music off!", it's more polite to use indirect language and questions, such as "Is it possible to turn the music off?" This gives the person we are speaking to the option to answer that it is not possible without conflicting with us. When we use commands there is a conflict if the person does not obey.

"Is it possible to...?"

Have you ever needed to switch seats with someone on an airplane? If you're ever in the situation, you can use this question to nicely request that they change seats with you: "Is it possible to switch seats?"

"Is it possible for you to…"

When we want to make a request that someone take action we can use "Is it possible for you to..." as an indirect and polite way to nudge them. For example: "Is it possible for you to smoke somewhere else?"

"Is it possible to get..."

This question is frequently used to make a request that involves buying something or adding something. For example: "Is it possible to get more ketchup on my hamburger?"

"Is it possible to have..."

Waiters and waitresses hear this question regularly when customers want something that isn't on the menu. They politely ask, for example, "Is it possible to have juice instead of milk?"

"I would like to know if it is possible to..."

This is another question we use to request changing or switching something. It can also be used to make general requests, such as "I would like to know if it is possible to turn down the air conditioner."

"Would it be Possible"

When we want to make a polite request we often ask a question that starts with "Would it be possible...?" Using the word "would" creates a hypothetical situation, which is very indirect and very polite. For example:

"Would it be possible to add another ice cube to my drink?"

"Would it be possible to stop at the second traffic light?"

"Would it be possible to meet on Saturday instead of Sunday?"

"Is it possible" vs. "Is that possible"

Sometimes it's difficult to know the difference between what the words "it" and "that" refer to. They are often used in the same phrases and expressions to talk about something that has already been mentioned. The difference is that "that" always refers to something that is either away from (not near) the speaker and near (not away from) the interlocutor. Our examples show us how they are used differently:

"Is it possible that the driver doesn't know where to go?"

"Is it possible to buy a fur coat for under $1,000?"

"My computer turned itself on! Is that possible?"

"How is it possible" vs. "How is that possible"

Both questions refer to something that has already been mentioned and both the speaker and listener should already understand this context. For example:

"How is it possible that you got a discount and I didn't?"

"John got a discount, but I didn't. How is that possible?"

"Is it possible" or "Is this possible"?

"Is it possible that the criminal escaped through the window?"

"The criminal may have escaped through the window. Is this possible?"

"If it is possible" and "If it was possible"

Again, the difference between present simple and past simple makes these two phrases different. "If it is possible to get a bottle of water, I would like one." refers to a present situation, whereas "If it was possible to get a bottle of water, I would get one." refers to a hypothetical situation. Grammatically, this is the difference between first and second conditional phrases and, technically, the second conditional phrase should use "were", not "was", and should read "If it were possible to get a bottle of water, I would get one."

"will it possible"

This phrase is a mistake. The correct verb is "to be possible" and without the verb "to be" it is a mistake. 

"but if possible"

"If possible" is a phrase people use to make a request only in a situation in which something is possible. In other words, if it isn't possible, then the request is retracted. For example:

"Send me those documents by Wednesday at the latest, but by Monday if possible."

We use "but if possible" to describe a better situation. We might say "The latest I can accept those documents is Wednesday evening, but if possible send them on Monday."

"if that's possible"

Sometimes we want a person to tell us if it's possible to do something or not, especially when we are making an agreement about dates, times, and the completion of work. For example:

"We really need those documents by Wednesday, so let me know if that's possible!"

"can it be possible"

This phrase is used to express question about the possibility of something.

"Can it be possible that Harry hasn't left his house yet?"

"how it can be possible"

Since this phrase is not a question it's most likely to be seen or heard as part of a larger phrase, such as:

"I don't know how it can be possible to forget to brush your teeth!"

Synonyms that you can use instead of “Is it possible”

Some other phrases we might use for the same reasons as "is it possible" are:

  • Are you able to...?
  • If it's not too much trouble...?
  • Would you mind...?
  • Could you do me a favor...?

"Is it possible" or "Will it be possible"?

The difference between "Is it possible" and "Will it be possible" is that the first question is about the present and the second question is about the future. When we ask "will it be possible" we are referencing a point in time in the future. For example:

Susan: "Can I register now?"

Elizabeth: "Sorry, we are closed for today. No one can register."

Susan: "Will it be possible to register tomorrow?"

Elizabeth. "Yes. Come back tomorrow between 9:30AM and 10:15AM."

“Is it possible you…. ?” or “Is it possible if you….?”

The phrase "Is it possible you...?" is typically used to suggest how someone caused something to happen. For example: "Is it possible you dropped your wallet in the car?" or "Is it possible you forgot to call him back?"

But we usually say "Is it possible if you" when we are asking under which conditions something would be possible. For example:

Bob: "John, can you work Friday evening?"

John: "Sorry, Bob. I'm taking my girlfriend to a restaurant Friday evening, so it isn't possible."

Bob: "Is it possible if you don't have to work Saturday and Sunday?"

John: "Yeah, sure. I can do that."