Commonly Confused Word Pairs: Convince/persuade

October 30, 2008: Issue 262 

To convince means to make someone accept an idea or position. The word convince is usually followed by of
or that:
     They were convinced of his abilities as a designer.
Neighbors convinced her that the garden was worth saving.

To persuade means to make someone take action. The word persuade is usually followed by an infinitive:
The numbers on the scale persuaded him to make big changes.

Here’s a memorization trick: Convince involves a concept. Persuade makes a person perform.

Winner: Database guru Dan Johnson’s performance of “Interjections” convinced us that he deserved aSchoolhouse Rock magnet. Perhaps you can persuade him to do an encore. Be sure he includes the dance.

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