Grammar 101: Belief vs. Believe

by IELTS Australasia — October 10th, 2017

What’s the difference between belief and believe? Two words that can cause some confusion and it’s well worth to spend a few minutes to know the difference between the two.

What’s the main difference between belief and believe? So, believe” (with an V) is a verb. It means to have confidence in the truth. Then, “belief” (with an F) is noun. It means a religious faith or the feeling of being certain that something it true.

Because “belief” and “believe” are homophones (words that sound alike), they are often confused. Here are some tips on telling them apart.

Click each topic to learn more about the differences between belief and believe.

Belief vs. believe: the difference
Belief

Is a noun: A word that refers to a person, place, thing, event, substance, or quality.

Believe

Is a verb: A word or phrase that describes an action, condition, or experience.

Belief vs. believe: the definitions
Belief
  • The feeling of being certain that something exists or is true.
  • A religious faith.
Believe
  • Verb (used without object)
    • To have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so.
  • Verb (used with object)
    • To have confidence or faith in the truth (a positive assertion, story).
    • To have confidence in the claims of (a person).
    • To have an opinion that (a person or thing) is, has been, or will be engaged in a given action.
Belief vs. believe: the synonyms
Belief

Could also mean (synonyms): Acceptance, confidence, conviction, faith, hope, opinion, theory, understanding, feeling.

Believe

The synonyms for this word include: Think, accept, admit, consider, hold, trust, conclude, suppose, understand.

Belief vs. believe: in a sentence
Belief
  • All religious and political beliefs should be respected equally.
  • It is my firm belief that by next year, Angelina will produce an award-winning movie.
  • It is a popular belief that all her furniture are antiques.
  • I admire her so much because she has the courage to stand up for her beliefs.
  • There is a growing belief that I will not get my promotion this year.
Believe
  • We believe she moved overseas to be closer to her family.
  • Please believe me as I have no reason to lie to you.
  • Grace believes that she can win the writing competition.
  • Contrary to popular opinion, I don’t believe that Mr. Smith is capable of killing his wife.
  • I believe that she will do the right thing to protect her children.

Reference: Cambridge Dictionary

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If you’ve done IELTS before, you might know the paper test. When you write by hand, clear handwriting is important. Examiners may not give marks for unclear answers. So, what about the computer test? IELTS on computer is exactly the same test as paper-based IELTS, but instead of writing your answers on paper, you will type them on a computer.

Benefits of computer-delivered IELTS

Want to learn more about commonly confused words?

In written English, it is important to know the correct spelling of a word you want to use. You don’t want to write “weak” when you mean “week” even though they sound the same. In spoken English, spelling is less important, but pronunciation is. Think about the word “lead” which can be pronounced as “led” or “leed.” Because these words cause a lot of confusion, it’s well worth to spend a few minutes to know the difference: homophones vs homographs vs homonyms.

People often use elude when they mean allude, or write allude when they should really write elude. There are other commonly confused words too: Do you know the difference between advice or advise? That is the question of another article where we explain the difference between these two commonly misused words. Read it here.