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While reading a book, I came across this sentence:

il est possible d'attribuer une probabilité aux différentes valeurs que la variable aléatoire peut prendre

Why "peut" is used instead of "puisse"? What I am missing?

Thanks

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  • "Thiziri": such a nice name ! It means 'star' in my mother tongue :) – Billal Begueradj Mar 12 '20 at 6:33
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    @Begueradj: Thanks, it's in Chaoui and yoor means "moon". – izri_zimba Mar 12 '20 at 17:51
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The indicative is used because there is absolutely no uncertainty about the fact the variable can take the different values referred to.

Should you want to tell taking a value is an hypothesis, you would use the conditional:

Il est possible d'attribuer une probabilité aux différentes valeurs que la variable aléatoire pourrait prendre.

Should there is actually some uncertainty about the fact the variable can take some values at all, you might say:

Que la variable puisse prendre une valeur négative reste à démontrer.

but still:

Il reste à démontrer que la variable peut prendre une valeur négative.

because in that latter case, the demonstration would tell the fact it can or it cannot.

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  • Also in the syntax, il est possible de eliminates the need for the subjunctive neatly (cf. il est possible que). The relative clause que la variable peut prendre is in the indicative because it refers to the NP different values. – livresque Mar 14 '20 at 2:07

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