We often say or write, "It is hard to believe."

Similarly, would it be correct if we say "He is hard to believe" to mean that whatever he is saying is hard to believe?

I am getting confused here?

  • Can a native speaker please clarify if this sentence is/can be used in spoken/written English? Thanks. Mar 22, 2013 at 16:13
  • 3
    @EnglishLearner I understand why you would ask for comments from native speakers only, but personally, I think it's better if we try not to exclude anyone when asking questions. Native speakers may be wrong, and non-native speakers may be confident enough to answer questions (and do so correctly).
    – user230
    Mar 22, 2013 at 17:29

3 Answers 3


“He is hard to believe” might be said of someone who frequently says things not easy to believe. But it is more common for someone to occasionally say something unbelievable†; and on such occasion, you might tell someone else “What he said is hard to believe”, or as suggested in Jay's comment, might tell the speaker “That's hard to believe”.

†Besides its literal meaning of “not to be believed”, unbelievable also has senses like “so surprising it is almost unable to [be believed]” and “Implausible or improbable”.

  • 1
    "That's hard to believe" is a common phrase, a stock phrase. "He is hard to believe" is a grammatically correct and meaningful sentence, but it's not commonly said.
    – Jay
    Mar 22, 2013 at 14:11

He is hard to believe

My interpretation of this is usually that someone is acting one way and saying something quite different. For example, if someone says, "I'll handle this," and then does nothing about it, that would be part of what I'd see as something that would make me think of someone as "hard to believe." In general, the idea would be that I don't have much faith in this person's abilities to get things done.


Hard to belive or Hard to swallow is an idiom that's commonly used when you suspect the authenticity of a story or account. For example:

Her story is hard to swallow or believe. Means that the story doesn't seem to be true, or at least that's what I think.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .