In general, which one is conveys a stronger conviction/opinion? I did some quick google search but didn't find any interesting results.

I'm positive that


I strongly believe that

  • You only said it! "....stronger conviction.", which means the sentence with *strong is stronger!
    – Maulik V
    Jan 20 '14 at 11:37

"I'm positive" is typically used for factual questions and means there is no doubt whatsoever. "Are you sure that you have enough money to pay for a sandwich?" "Yes, I'm positive, I have two thousand dollars in my pocket!" or "No, I'm pretty sure, but I'm not positive, let me count."

By contrast, "I believe" is more typically used for opinions. "I believe" expresses an opinion and "I strongly believe" simply makes the opinion more strong (just like it says).

You can also use "believe" for a fact. If you use "believe" for a fact, rather than an opinion, then it's inherently weaker than being positive. You can say for instance, "I believe that I am older than you, but I'm not very confident in that belief." Again putting "strongly" here increases certainty. However, "positive" means that you are 100% certain.

The word "positive" can also be used to mean "optimistic," but typically means that one is optimistic in disposition, not about a particular opinion or fact.

  • 2
    numerically: for a true/false question, "believe" means your guess is greater than 50%, "strongly believe" is maybe between 75 and 99, "positive" is 100.
    – hunter
    Jan 20 '14 at 13:14
  • I disagree that it's always 100% sure. Tomorrow is my interview with the US embassy; twice I have got declined. I'm very much afraid this time as well. "Ah, don't worry, you'll crack that this time. Be positive. He was then 'positive' about it and again lost it. You can be *several times positive and retry it. But I strongly believed in that girl and she hurt me. It direct connects to my belief and confidence in this. We can advise someone being positive but I cannot ask someone to strongly believe something. And, OP is concerned about which one is stronger.
    – Maulik V
    Jan 21 '14 at 4:36
  • 1
    It is true that positive can mean "optimistic". However, if someone says "I'm positive that [statement of fact]" he means he is 100% sure. If later, he says "I meant that I was optimistic, not that I was 100% sure," the people whom he quoted the fact to would rightfully be upset!
    – hunter
    Jan 21 '14 at 4:41

When you are positive about something, you are optimistic. You are pretty hopeful or expect that to happen.

When you strongly believe it, it's more of your stance/confidence with affirmation.

If things don't happen the way you thought.

In case where you were being positive will simply accept it as it was just your hope and expectation. There are still chances that next time, you may still give it a shot and again be positive.


In case where you strongly believed, you'll lose confidence or faith in that belief. There are less chances that you again believe the same story and go for it in the future.

  • 2
    Actually you are talking about a different meaning of "positive". It can mean "hopeful or optimistic" but also "completely certain" (and other things). merriam-webster.com/dictionary/positive
    – nxx
    Jan 20 '14 at 13:27
  • 1
    I am positive this is a different meaning of positive than the meaning asked about in the O.P.'s question. The O.P. is asking about this meaning of positive (certain beyond doubt), as opposed to this one (optimistic).
    – J.R.
    Jan 20 '14 at 18:03

Stating that you strongly believe acknowledges that it's your belief, as all knowledge is ultimately.

Both express much certainty but 'positive' allows for no doubt while 'I believe' hints at the idea being questionable by acknowledging it to be an belief held.

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