Does "Keep positive" in meaning of "be an optimist" works

The context is, when someone was failed in an exam, and I want to encourage him for the second chance that has.


In my opinion, "Stay positive" is a bit more common and natural-sounding than "Keep positive", although the Ngram indicates that might be a relatively recent trend.

As for what the expression means, you can say that as:

  • Be an optimist


  • Be optimistic

but I would avoid:

  • Be optimist

(In other words, use an article with the noun; otherwise, use the adjectival form of the word.)

  • Thank you. I added the articles for focusing readers on the question. – Judicious Allure May 29 '18 at 21:42
  • Please see this and this. In short, that's not really an Ngram, and be careful when drawing conclusions from the chart beyond the usual range (before 1800 and after 2000). Second of all, I think the chart is misleading because stay positive is mostly used in the context of encouragement, etc. – user3395 Jun 17 '18 at 17:49
  • Keep positive, on the other hand, can be used in other contexts as well. (From Google Books:) To stay positive it is important to keep positive people in your life, When we say that we must create and keep positive thoughts, but if we will keep positive attitudes in the midst of those situations, Keep positive and very inspirational people around you, etc. However, I think that despite all that, keep positive might be emerging as the new stay positive. – user3395 Jun 17 '18 at 17:53
  • @user2684291 - Sure. I was limiting my answer to a standalone usage. – J.R. Jun 19 '18 at 16:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.