Worldwide the probability that an earthquake will be followed within 3 days by a large earthquake nearby is somewhere just over 6%. In California, that probability is about 6%. This means that there is about a 94% chance that any earthquake will NOT be a foreshock. In California, about half of the biggest earthquakes were preceded by foreshocks; the other half were not. At this time, we cannot tell whether or not an earthquake is a foreshock until something larger happens after it... so only in retrospect.