Adverbs of Probability (+ an English Idiom)

You get what you pay for

In this English blog post, I want to teach you some helpful English that I taught to one of my private students here in Japan. The content of this post is from a real lesson, a natural conversation with some useful English grammar and expressions. Natural English, from a native speaking teacher is the best way to learn. 

Video is HERE! 


My student and I were talking about cheap products, clothes and other items that are very inexpensive.

inexpensiveadjective – not costing a lot of money (not expensive)

“My student and I were talking about cheap products, clothes and other items that are very inexpensive.”

The prefix in~ can be used to change the meaning of some adjectives to their opposite

in expensive=inexpensive

use the adjective inexpensive

incomplete – not having everything that it should have; not finished or not complete

“The study is still incomplete after 7 years of research.”

inaccurate – not exact or not accurate; with mistakes

“We got lost a lot on our trip to Mexico. Our map was terribly inaccurate.”

I’m from Canada, I used to live in a town near Toronto. 

 We had many stores called “dollar stores,” everything in these stores cost $1. In Japan, there are ¥100 stores, which are kind of the same thing.  

My student and I were talking about clothes that are very cheap. I said it feels good to get a sweater for a few dollars, but you get what you pay for

Here is the definition of “You get what you pay for” From – In commercial transactions, the quality of goods and services increases as the prices increase, i.e., the more one pays, the better the merchandise. 

Very simply this means the price you pay relates to the quality of the goods.

So if you pay a high price, the thing you buy will probably be high quality. If you pay a low price, the thing that you buy will be lower quality. It won’t last very long or it will damage easily.

💲 If you buy something from the Dollar store, the quality of whatever you bought will not be very good because the price is so low.

English idiom You get what you pay for

My student understood the feeling, but he wasn’t sure about the word probably.

“the thing you bought will be probably be high quality”

Probably is an adverb used to show how likely something is to happen or be true.

*Quick pronunciation note! 

The word probably has 3 syllables – 

PRAW-BAB-LEE  but a native speaker, talking at natural speed will often reduce the word to 2 syllables – (I do this all the time!)

“I’ll probably be late for dinner tonight, I have a meeting after work.” 


An easy way to understand probability is with a simple chart. This is what I showed my student.

learn English probability
definitely 100% I’m very confident that this is true

probably 70-80% I’m confident that this is true

maybe 50% This could be true or not true

If we say definitely…

We are very confident that something will happen or something is true. Our confidence is 100%.

Learn to use the adverb 'definitely' in English

“If you buy a cheap computer, you will definitely have problems after a year or two. Cheap electronics never last.” 

A: “Do you think Toyota makes quality cars?”
B: “Definitely. That company has a long history of making cars that perform well and last a long time.”

If we say maybe…

We feel something may happen or may be true. Our confidence is around the middle. 50%

Learn to use the adverb 'maybe' in English

A: “Will you join us for a drink on Friday?”
B: “Maybe. I’m not sure if my boss wants us to work overtime or not. I’ll call you tomorrow at 5:00 and let you know.”

Probably is somewhere between Definitely and Maybe. Our confidence level is more than 50%, but not quite 100%.

Learn to use the adverb 'probably' in English

“If you pay a high price, the thing you buy will probably be high quality.”

 🎁4 BONUS examples!🎁

Frank: “This coffee tastes awful!”
Leon: “It was 75 cents, what do you expect! You get what you pay for.”

“I don’t mind to pay a little more for organic vegetables, they are healthy and they don’t use dangerous chemicals. They’re expensive but you get what you pay for.”

“I was happy to find these shoes for such a low price, but they fell apart after 3 weeks. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. You get what you pay for.”

“Your computer always crashes because it’s junk. You should have spent more money and got a good brand, you get what you pay for.” 

I mentioned the kind of discount stores we have in Canada and Japan earlier in this post, tell me about where you live! Are there discount stores in your town? What kind of things can you buy there? Let me know in the comments. 

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great day! 🌇

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