Believes or Beliefs – What’s the Difference?

If you hold something to be true, do you believe it, or belief it?

If you aren’t sure what the answer should be, you aren’t alone. Many writers are confused by these two words. The plural version, beliefs, is also close enough to believes to cause confusion.

So when should you use beliefs, and when should you use believes? The truth is that one of these words is a noun, while the other is a verb. They are not interchangeable, so a skilled writer must know the difference between them, as well as when each should be used.

What is the Difference Between Believes and Beliefs?

In this article, I will compare beliefs vs. believes. I will make sure to use each of these words in a sentence as an example of their proper use in context.

Plus, I will reveal a useful trick that can help you remember whether beliefs or believes is appropriate in any given situation.

When to Use Believes

Definition of beliefs definition and definition of believes definition What does believes mean? Believes is a verb. It is the third person singular present tense form of the verb believe, which means to accept something as true.

For example,

  • Santonio believes that all people are created equal in the eyes of God.
  • “Clark believes you, but he still doesn’t understand why Ashford was at your house in the first place,” Amy told Melissa.
  • Cynthia believes that norm-referenced measures are inherently more meaningful than criterion-referenced measures.
  • As a lawyer, he said, he believes strongly that when people record their interactions with police, it helps reduce confusion if their cases end up in court. –The Washington Post

When to Use Beliefs

Define beliefs and define believes What does beliefs mean? While believes is a singular verb, beliefs is a plural noun; it means acceptance that something is true. It can also be used as a synonym for trust or faith in some contexts.

Here are a few examples,

  • “Most people at my university do not respect by spiritual beliefs,” said Roma.
  • Where beliefs contradict reality, they should be examined, and if necessary, modified.
  • You should never compromise your beliefs for convenience or for acceptance.
  • Not only must we stand up for our beliefs in these fraught political times — we now must stand up for our steak, too. –New York Post

Trick to Remember the Difference

believes versus beliefs The criteria for choosing between these two words are simple. One is a noun, and the other is a verb, so your choice will depend upon how you are using the word in a sentence.

Rules for Believes vs. Beliefs:

  • Believes is a verb; use believes when you need a verb.
  • Beliefs is a noun; use beliefs when you need a noun.

Believes and verb are each spelled with the letter V, so as long as you can remember how to spell the word, you will know its proper context in your writing.


Is it believes or beliefs? Believes and beliefs are similar words, but they are different parts of speech.

  • Believes is a third person singular present tense verb.
  • Beliefs is a noun.

They are not interchangeable, but it is easy to remember when to use which. Since believes is a verb, and believes and verb each contain a V, using it correctly is as simple as knowing how it is spelled.

Now that you know how to use these two confusing words, be sure to check this site with any other writing questions you may have. And if you are ever stuck choosing believes or beliefs, you can check back here for help.