Believe vs Believe in

“Believe” and “believe in” certainly look very similar, but they are used a bit differently. 

What is the difference between “believe” and “believe in”?

1. Believe: to think something is true / factual

Ex: I believe the movie starts at seven o’clock. = I think
Ex: Bob says he has a Ferrari. I don’t believe him. = He’s a liar.

Believe in: to trust something is true (often based on feelings and without proof)
Ex: Do you believe in ghosts? 
Ex: No. I don’t believe in anything supernatural.

Compare these sentences: 
I believe you son. = I think you told the truth. 
I believe in you son. = I trust you. I have faith in you. 

Tell me something I can believe. = Tell me facts. 
Tell me something I can believe in. = Give me hope / faith.

We do not use “believe” in continuous tenses. 
X I am believing you. 
O I believe you. 

b. Nouns
Believing in the Tooth Fairy is silly. = gerund
I’m not a believer. = person
The belief that the world is flat is ridiculous. = idea

c. We don’t usually end a sentence with a preposition. When nothing follows “believe”, it takes the same meaning as “believe in”. 
X I believe in. 
O I believe in magic. 
O I believe

• I don’t believe it! 
• Unbelievable!
• Can you believe it?
These all mean
 “Wow! Amazing!” and can be good or bad.

• Believe you me, tomorrow is going to be great. = Trust me. 
• Believe it or not, I’m going to the Super Bowl. = Surprisingly          

Now it’s your turn!

1. I don’t __________ the Tooth Fairy. 

2. Do you __________ the new tax plan will help low-income families? 

A: What do you think about aliens?
B: I want to __________. 

4. This line is so SLOW! It’s __________!! 

5. I don’t __________ it’s going to rain tomorrow. 

6. Can you __________ this guy? He forgot his wallet!

7. You can do it son! I __________ you! 

8. He thinks you’re telling the truth. He __________ you. 

9. My mom doesn’t like astrology. She’s not a __________. 

10. I don’t __________ it! I won the lottery!!

1. believe in  2. believe  3. believe  4. unbelievable  5. believe  6. believe  7. believe in  8. believes  9. believer  10. believe

Like this post? Did I forget something? Let me know!    

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