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This sentence recently appeared in one of my N1 training books:

彼女が合格する可能性はなきにしもあらずだが、彼がパスする可能性はなきにひとしい。

My translation: While she may have a slight chance of passing the exam, it is hopeless for him. (lit. his chances are the same as nothing)

Is [なきにしもあらず~なきに] a set phrase that often/always comes as a pair? Or can I use 「なきにしもあらず」 also without the following contrasting 「なきに」 and still sound natural?

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無きにしもあらず ("not zero", "cannot say never") and 無きに等しい ("virtually zero", "nearly no") are two different set phrases which are not directly related to each other. You can safely use one of them without using the other.

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