believe him honest / think him a kind man [object and complement]

Takahero

Senior Member
Japanese
Hello.

I would like you to judge whether the following sentences from a textbook are correct.

1.a. Some of the people will believe him honest.
b.I think him a kind man.

For me, these sentences sound archaic. Am I right?
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Yes, I agree, but both could be used sparingly and in the right context for effect.
     

    CuriosityArouseD

    New Member
    Bahasa Melayu
    Hello.

    1.a. Some of the people will believe him honest.

    first things first, im no grammatician or native speaker but i think in this case you are saying as if there are two or more groups of people

    it's simple grammar,really...

    b.I think him a kind man.

    i think of him as a kind man sounds a lot better to me
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    The use is grammatical, although I only found two examples in the BNC: "To those who asked him what he thought of Hitler now, he replied, ‘I think him a very fine fellow." Hitler's Englishman. Selwyn, F.1987 (This was probably said in the 1930s)

    For with all his rectitude,’ said Iago, coldly considering, ‘I think him but very small in goodness, and very drear. "A bloody field by Shrewsbury." Edith Pargeter (aka Ellis Peters), 1989. (a novel set in the 14th(?) century)
    .

     
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    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    a. Some of the people will believe him honest.
    b.I think him a kind man.
    I do not find sentence (b) odd, or consider it archaic. I judge it perfectly normal.
    The predicative use of the adjective with the object of a verb of considering, thinking or deeming is perfectly standard.
    Sentence (a), on the other hand, uses the verb 'believe', which has a distinctly different meaning from verbs of thinking or considering.
    'I think' or I 'consider' expresses a conscious judgement which by its nature implies the possibility of revision or change.
    'I believe', on the other hand, is not so much a conscious decision or choice; rather it is a recognition by me of a state of my heart or personality which is not open to conscious revision or change.
    What we think or consider is something which we could change if we learn new facts.
    What we believe is something we cannot help assenting to. We could hardly change it without becoming a different personality.

    For this reason the verb 'believe' does not behave the same way as verbs of thinking or deeming.
     

    Takahero

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thank you for the replies.

    If the sentences are normal, why are only two sentences found in the BNC?
     

    Pertinax

    Senior Member
    BrE->AuE
    I wouldn't say that the use of "think" and "believe" with an object and predicative complement is archaic, but certainly it is not as common as it used to be - say 300 years ago. In particular "believe" is uncommon except with a diminishing selection of complements - e.g.
    I believe it inadequate.
    I did not think him suitable for the high court nor did I believe him capable of restoring public confidence in the Supreme Court.
    (William Saxbe's Autobiography, 2000)

    There remain relatively few restrictions on predicative complements for "think", "consider", "find".
     
    1.a. Some of the people will believe him honest.
    b.I think him a kind man.
    Hi Takahero, I agree with Pertinax.

    I think that the construction in the above is used when you define or state that somebody/somthing is the case. I believe that the structure simply doesn't go with 'believe' and 'think', each of which shows you speculation and idea, respectively.
    (Why not put 'as' before a kind man?)
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Hi Takahero, I agree with Pertinax.
    I believe that the structure simply doesn't go with 'believe' and 'think', each of which shows you speculation and idea, respectively.
    (Why not put 'as' before a kind man?)
    Pertinax has said that 'believe' is used with object and predicative complement less often than formerly; and that 'think' is used with object and predicative complement much more often than 'believe'.
    So he is confirming the use of this structure with these verbs, subject to a limitation on 'believe'.

    'I think him a kind man' :tick: is correct.
    Including 'as' would make it incorrect : 'I think him as a kind man'. :cross:
    On the other hand, you could say 'I think of him as a kind man'. :tick:

    The verb 'consider' works differently:
    'I consider him a kind man'. :tick:
    'I consider him as a kind man'. :tick:
     

    Julianus

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Hello.


    a. I belive him to be honest. b. I belive him honest.


    My dictionary says the second is correct, but someone says it's not.

    Do they have the same meaning?

    Thank you always~.

    << This thread has been merged with an earlier thread. Please see the preceding posts. >>
     
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    lorelord

    Senior Member
    UK - english
    If the 2 examples are complete statements then I prefer (a). However (b) can be correct if there is a following phrase - for example "I believe him honest in his dealings with me".
     

    joaopaolo

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Even if "B" is correct, I've never seen or heard it in my life--I'd say it's at least "nonstandard." Unless you are looking for a particular effect I'd go with "A".
     
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