If he gave them Harry, who'd dare say he'd betrayed Lord Voldemort? He'd be welcomed back with honours...

My research: "Dare say" could also mean "regard something as probable" with "have the guts to do". Which one is correct and how do you determine that?

I have noticed several times that sometimes in sentences, there is a word or phrase that has multiple meanings and all of them could fit in the context. Then how do I determine which one I should use?

1 Answer 1


"Dare say" in the sense of "regard as probable" is used almost exclusively in the first-person present tense - so much so that Lexico defines it as a fixed phrase:

I dare say (phrase) (also I daresay) Used to indicate that one believes something is probable.

Merriam-Webster says: "used only in the present tense first person singular" (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/daresay ).

From this you can deduce that it is unlikely to be the intended sense in your quoted sentence.

  • Is it always the case? That we can't use with second person or third person? Oct 7, 2021 at 5:50
  • I edited my answer to add a quote from M-W. The full Oxford English Dictionary notes very rare instances where it has been used in the third person as reported speech ("he dared say") and also says that in dialect the past tense "daresaid" is used. But these are exceptional usages that you would not normally come across.
    – rjpond
    Oct 7, 2021 at 5:54

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