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sure and certain Options
jacobusmaximus
Posted: Thursday, April 23, 2015 10:15:28 AM

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Joined: 4/17/2009
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Location: Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
I just overheard someone say "I'm sure, but I'd rather be certain". Is 'sure' not the same as 'certain'?
Absinthius
Posted: Thursday, April 23, 2015 10:29:15 AM

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Joined: 4/23/2015
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Location: Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands
I am not certain, but I think that sure has a subtext that is more in the direction of 'highly likely'. Certain is when you are completely 100% certain.

So for example:
I'm sure that Amsterdam is larger than Rotterdam. (I dont know it as a fact, but I really think so)
I'm certain that 4 comes after 3. (Its just a fact)

Hope this helps, I'm eager to read what others think.
Lizz Gzz
Posted: Thursday, April 23, 2015 11:32:42 AM

Rank: Member

Joined: 11/4/2014
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Neurons: 69,724
Location: Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico
Absinthius wrote:
I am not certain, but I think that sure has a subtext that is more in the direction of 'highly likely'. Certain is when you are completely 100% certain.

So for example:
I'm sure that Amsterdam is larger than Rotterdam. (I dont know it as a fact, but I really think so)
I'm certain that 4 comes after 3. (Its just a fact)

Hope this helps, I'm eager to read what others think.


It's seems to be a good answer...
NKM
Posted: Thursday, April 23, 2015 5:39:09 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/14/2015
Posts: 5,266
Neurons: 315,308
Location: Corinth, New York, United States
At least in American English, "sure" and "certain" are essentially equivalent.

But "sure" is indeed more likely to be used in offering reassurance:
- "I'm sure he'll be all right." -- (I'm convinced of it, or at least nearly so, but of course we can't really know for certain.)
- "I'm sure I locked the doors." -- (Of course I did; there's no reason to think I didn't. But maybe I should check again ...)

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"Positive" can be used (colloquially) to mean "absolutely certain."

Even though each of these words can be used to say that something is known without a doubt, they are often modified by an adverb to indicate a level of confidence.
- "I'm absolutely sure of it."
- "I'm fairly sure, but not really positive."
- "Are you entirely certain?"

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