Convince vs Persuade
What is the
many pairs of confusing
in English. The words convince
confused. Both of these words are
and they have similar meanings.
In this lesson, you will learn
how to use these words correctly to improve your speaking and writing.
Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All English Tenses
The way people use convince
has changed over the years.
First, let's look at the traditional definitions of convince and persuade.
Convince is a verb.
cause someone to believe something is true or that your idea is good
comes from a Latin word meaning "conquer, overcome." If
you convince someone to believe something, you conquer their beliefs.
When we use convince in this way, we usually say:
convince + someone + that
- He convinced
his mother that he was telling the truth.
- I convinced
the police that I was innocent.
- I listened to her argument, but I was not convinced that she
understood the problem.
- I couldn't convince
myself that I was doing the right thing.
- Did you convince
him that you need the job?
- I was convinced
that she loved me and would marry me!
is also a
is to talk someone into doing something (to make them do something by giving reasons for doing it).
comes from a Latin word that means "advise, make appealing." When you persuade
do something, you make that action sound appealing or good.
we use to + infinitive
someone to take an action.
- I persuaded
Tom to drive me to work this week.
- Did you persuade
her to buy the new car?
- My son persuaded
me to buy him ice cream.
- Sally persuaded
me to take the job.
- I persuaded
her to hire me for the job.
Using "convince" and "persuade" in modern American English
Until the 1950s, convince and persuade had different meanings and were used in the different ways mentioned above.
During the 1950s in the
United States, persuade and convince became synonyms. That means that they have similar meanings and can be used in the same
In modern American English, both of these sentences are correct:
- He persuaded me to buy the car.
- He convinced me to buy the car.
Today many writers and teachers use convince and persuade interchangeably. That means that one word can be used in place of
to some dictionaries, both words can mean "to change beliefs" and "to
make someone do something," and it is acceptable to use these words as
synonyms in English conversation.
Note: in modern American English both
convince and persuade can be used with an infinitive.
- I couldn't convince / persuade her to come.
- He convinced / persuaded me that I was wrong.
- It will not be easy to convince / persuade her.
- My mother convinced / persuaded me to go back to work.