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Spoken English – Interesting English #101 – Convince vs Persuade

When it comes to best Spoken English coaching, Sahasriya leads the way with over 2500 successful students in IELTS & PTE coaching. In Bengaluru or Chennai-Velachery and Porur or Coimbatore, the best success rate destination always ends up at Sahasriya. Thats why Sahasriya provides value to students through its Interesting English series too. Everyday’s note on important aspects of English language is a standing example of narrating experiences of Spoken English coaching inputs from Sahasriya. Today, it is about ‘Convince’ and ‘Persuade’.

English is full of confusing words. If you’re not dealing with a confusing set of homophones or homonyms, you’re trying to understand the difference between two words with incredibly similar meanings, like convince vs. persuade.

When to Use Convince

Spoken English convinceConvince functions verb and is defined as cause (someone) to believe firmly in the truth of something.

  • But it would take her three and a half months, five court hearings, three letters from her landlord and a copy of her lease to convince the judge.
  • A 40-year-old Chidambaram woman isn’t dead, but she said she spent months trying to convince credit reporting agencies that she’s alive
  • If you’re not convinced that the other side is trustworthy, you’re going to try to limit their scope of action as much as possible.

Convince comes from a Latin word meaning, “conquer, overcome.” To convince someone of something is to present facts, logic, arguments, etc., that cause said person to believe the truth of something. In other words, when you are convinced of something, you “conquer” or “overcome” you previous beliefs.

For example, you might be convinced that fishing is fun. Or convinced that the sun is the center of our solar system.

The key takeaway is that convincing is limited to the mind. I am convinced of the truth of something, but I am not convinced to do something. This is the traditional distinction between convince and persuade.

This also means that you shouldn’t use an infinitive to follow convince. For example,

  • He convinced me to take the leap.

In traditional usage, convince should not be used with and infinitive. That is where persuade comes into play.

When to Use Persuade

Spoken English persuadePersuade also functions as a verb and is defined as cause (someone) to do something through reasoning or argument.

  • It wasn’t easy, but I persuaded him to do the right thing.
  • I persuaded him to apply to both colleges.
  • The Prime Minister persuaded members or either party to side with him on the upcoming vote.

As you can see, one persuades someone to do something, but one convinces someone of something. I might persuade you to go walking with me, but I convince you that it is a good idea.

Persuasion leads to action, while convincement stays in the mind of those convinced.

Which Word Deals With Emotion: Persuade or Convince?

It is sometimes said that a person is convinced by an appeal to reason or logic and a person is persuadedby an appeal to feelings or emotions.

This is not necessarily true. Both convincing and persuading can be done through arguments and reason. As I said above, the key difference is between action and nonaction, not what is being appealed to.

what is proper english grammarRemember the Difference

The difference between these words—remember—has to do with action vs. nonaction.

You persuade someone to do something.

You convince someone of something.

You can remember this because persuade has to do with action, and both of those words have an “A” in them.

Convincing has to do with the mind, and both of those words have an “I” in them.


Do I use convince or persuade? Of course, that depends on the context of your sentence and your audience, but these words are becoming more and more interchangeable every day.

This daily series is an effort by Sahasriya for educating students on Spoken English coaching and beyond. These vital tips ensures your Spoken English coaching is more effective with Sahasriya which is what hundreds of students benefit everyday.

About Govind Desikan

AvatarGovind, a master of English language has taken to sharing his experience on English language and focus specifically on finer inputs on English language, IELTS and PTE exams through his posts here.

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