Believes is a Verb

By Maeve Maddox

Some bloggers, academics, and authors with books on Amazon seem to be confused about the verb believe and the noun belief. Here are just four examples:

INCORRECT: Manobo Religious Believes and Practices—title of paper published at Academia.edu.
CORRECT : Manobo Religious Beliefs and Practices

INCORRECT: A recent study examines how religious and spiritual believes can impact our health in different ways.—Science World Report.
CORRECT : A recent study examines how religious and spiritual beliefs can impact our health in different ways.

INCORRECT: Awakening of Religious Believes of Islam—Facebook page title.
CORRECT : Awakening of Religious Beliefs of Islam

INCORRECT: Why do I mention believes, I really mean religious believes, because more or less we have been forced to belief that a supernatural world doesn’t exist, or it is a world where only god’s reside.—Paul J. Linke, The Conspiracy Rhetoric of Mankind, Xlibris, 2012.
CORRECT : Why do I mention beliefs, I really mean religious beliefs, because more or less we have been forced to believe that a supernatural world doesn’t exist, or it is a world where only gods reside.

Believe is a verb. Its principal parts are believe/believes, believed, (has) believed.

Belief is a noun.

Paul Brians (Common Errors in English Usage) sums up the difference nicely:

People can’t have religious “believes”; they have religious beliefs. If you have it, it’s a belief; if you do it, you believe.

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3 Responses to “Believes is a Verb”

  • thebluebird11

    Can I assume that these were ESL? It seems to me that native English speakers would not make this mistake.

  • Athan

    Wow people actually are confused about believe and belief? Serious professional writers? That is … surprising.

  • Lee San

    I can assure you that native English speakers make those mistakes all the time. When English is the second language, that mistake is taught specifically that way the English speaker because they do not know the difference. And it makes you wonder about the editors for the professional writers? Isn’t that a part of the editing process?

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