Believe in AE

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nazimou11

Senior Member
arabic, french
Hello guys,

Is the word believe used often by Americans? I hear them saying "I think" a lot though. Is there a slight difference between the two words or it's just a preference?

Thank you so much for anyone who's going to clarify this :).
 
  • The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    "Believe" is a very common word, but I assume you're referring to sentences like "Excuse me, I believe you're sitting on my hat." Americans might in fact tend to use "think" in such a situation.
     

    nazimou11

    Senior Member
    arabic, french
    Yes, that is exactly what I was referring to. Thank you the Newt.

    Edited to ask you this, what is there a difference between the two words in AE?
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Thank you for your insight. I thought that believe was used more often in that context in BE.
    Remember that the data used by Google for the Ngram viewer is data derived from published books, nazimou11. Google doesn't collect data about what people actually say in their conversations. Don't take those graphs too seriously when it comes to questions about the spoken usage of some word or phrase.
     
    Last edited:

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I can imagine saying, "I think you're a idiot." But I can't imagine saying, "I believe you're an idiot."
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Is the word believe used often by Americans? I hear them saying "I think" a lot though. Is there a slight difference between the two words or it's just a preference?
    "Think" means to hold an idea in your mind. Any idea. I can think about flying elephants. There, I just did!

    "Believe" means in your opinion something is true. I don't believe that elephants can fly.
     
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