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How would I interpret this expression:

If I believe what someone says.

I can think of two different options:

  1. if the accounts of witnesses may be believed
  2. if the witnesses themselves are believable

Are those both valid? Is there any other option?

UPDATE

I mean if someone said what specific person in specific time (or/and place) to do specific action

  • Surely those two definitions are logically equivalent? In any specific context, you actually either mean if I believe anything John says, or if I believe some specific thing John says. Only the context can give that distinction with your expression, but there are two "unambiguous* alternatives. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jul 29 '13 at 3:37
  • @J.R. Maybe I misread, but this isn't what I thought the OP was asking. I thought they meant "How do I say that I believe what someone says?" And then offered two possible ways to say that (neither of which were correct). I might be wrong, your edit's interpretation might be correct, but I just wanted to put that out there. I'm a bit confused by the question if this was the intent. – WendiKidd Jul 29 '13 at 3:50
  • I mean if someone said what specific person in specific time (or/and place) to do specific action – Mediator Jul 29 '13 at 5:07
  • @WendiKidd: I did my best with what I had; I wasn't so sure I nailed it, either. – J.R. Jul 29 '13 at 8:28
  • @J.R. Oh, I know. I was just trying to put the alternative out there to see if that might help OP. I'm actually more confused now so I'll bow out and leave this as is :) – WendiKidd Jul 29 '13 at 15:42
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You would have to determine it from context. For example, someone might say, "If you believe what Jack says about Hannah, she's an incredibly strong woman." Clearly, this must mean if Jack's reports are true, not if one believes them. But you can also say, "If you believe what Jack says about Hannah, you're pretty gullible." Clearly this must mean if you elect to believe them, not if they are true.

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If I "believe what somebody says," I would accept the statement (as being true).

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