I've often heard "believe in each other" used, but considering that "believe" is a transitive verb, it would seem to be grammatically correct to say "We have to believe each other", instead of saying "We have to believe in each other." Is this wording grammatically correct? Or is it not acceptable enough to use?

If it is grammatically correct, do both sentences convey the same meaning?

  • The phrasal verb believe in is defined in most dictionaries. Which one did you consult? After looking at the definitions of the verbs believe and believe in, do you think they have the same meaning? Nov 3, 2016 at 23:26
  • Although I think there is a difference in the meaning between "believe" and "believe in",(my dictionary is ODE, by the way) a native speaker of English judged the two wordings as correct, both of which have the same meaning as "trust each other," So I just wanted to make sure whether they share the meaning, as English is not my native language.
    – maple1345
    Nov 3, 2016 at 23:55
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    Your native speaker is in error, unfortunately. To be clear: "We have to believe each other" is not identical in meaning to "We have to believe in each other". The latter does not mean precisely "We must trust each other". Instead, it means ""We must have faith in each other". The difference is subtle but significant. Study example sentences in multiple dictionaries to grasp this. (Try the OneLook dictionary to simplify your task.) Nov 4, 2016 at 0:10
  • 3
    @P.E.Dant - +1, but a little more precisely: "We believe each other" means that each of us credits the other's veracity, while "We believe in each other" means that each of us reposes some other sort of faith in the other: faith that the other will succeed or prevail, for instance, or faith that the other will deal honestly with us, or faith that the other will support us in our endeavours. Nov 4, 2016 at 0:24
  • That is what I've wanted to hear. Relieved that I've learned so far is correct. I really understand what you pointed out and couldn't agree more. Thanks for giving me the link to such a useful dictionary. I'll make use of it.
    – maple1345
    Nov 4, 2016 at 0:27

1 Answer 1


On it's own, yes, it's correct. But it doesn't have the same meaning as "believe in". Instead it is synonymous with we trust each other.

Therefore, to answer your question, to convey your intended meaning, you must use the "in".

  • 1
    I see. It can be said "We have to believe each other", but it has a different meaning from "We have to believe in each other." I'd like to use it correctly depending on context.
    – maple1345
    Nov 4, 2016 at 0:30
  • @maple1345 Precisely.
    – Dog Lover
    Nov 4, 2016 at 1:04

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