Difference Between Convince and Persuade

Main Difference – Convince vs. Persuade

Convince and Persuade are two verbs that have similar meanings. Although this similarity in meaning has resulted in these two verbs being used as the synonyms, there is a slight difference between convince and persuade. The main difference between convince and persuade is that convince is generally used in situations where a person’s belief is changed, but no action is taken as a result whereas persuade is used in situations that result in actions. However, this distinction is dictated only be traditional grammar; in practice, these two words are commonly used as synonyms. The Oxford dictionary states that this practice came into use in the 1950s.

What Does Convince Mean

Convince can be defined as cause someone to believe firmly in the truth of something. Generally, a person is convinced of something by evidence, and arguments made to the intellect. Therefore, we use the word convince when we are talking about a belief, theory, doctrine or duty.

Convince comes from the Latin convincere meaning to conquer. Thus, we can say that convincing someone is similar to helping that person to conquer his or her previous beliefs.

When we look at the grammatical form of the verb, it is important to notice that convince cannot be used with an infinitive. Convince is generally used in the following two formats.

Convince someone of something

He convinced them of his innocence.

Oliver convinced her of the rightness of his action.

Convince Someone that

He tried to convince them that he was innocent.

She convinced her parents that it was the right thing to do.

Note that these two sentences can be also written without that.

However, you should also keep in mind that these rules apply only if you are using convince in the traditional grammatical sense. If you are using convince as a synonym for persuade, convince can be written with an infinitive.

My mother convinced me to go to her wedding.

*Note that this usage is not much accepted by many grammarians.

Difference Between Convince and Persuade

He tried to convince them that their product was the best.

What Does Persuade Mean

Persuade can be defined as inducing someone to do something through reasoning or argument. Persuade is generally used in relation to an action. That is to say, persuading someone to do something always results in an action. For example,

His parents persuaded him to apply to a foreign university.

I persuaded him to move to Goa.

Their economic problems persuaded them to take in boarders.

In the above example, you’ll note that persuade is followed by an infinitive and all three infinitives refer to actions.

Main Difference - Convince vs Persuade

Her parents persuaded her to go to ballet classes.

Difference Between Convince and Persuade

Meaning

Convince means to cause someone to believe firmly in the truth of something.

Persuade means to induce someone to do something through reasoning or argument.

Action

Convince refers to a situation where a person’s belief is changed, but no action is taken as a result.

Persuade refers to a situation where used in situations that result in actions.

Infinitive

Convince cannot be used with an infinitive.

Persuade can be used with an infinitive.Difference Between Convince and Persuade - infographic

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