Croire

French Verb Beliefs

Croire is one of the most common and useful French verbs and has irregular conjugations in most tenses and moods. Croire literally means "to believe," has somewhat varying meanings depending on the preposition used, and is found in many idiomatic expressions.

Croire = to believe, think

Generally speaking, croire is equivalent to "to believe, think."

Par exemple…

Tu me crois ?   Do you believe me?
 Je crois y avoir réussi.   I think I’ve succeeded.

Croire que = to believe/think that

Croire que is followed by the indicative when it’s affirmative, but the subjunctive when it’s negative or interrogative:

Par exemple…

Je crois qu’il est déjà là.   I think he’s already there.
Je ne crois pas qu’il soit déjà là.   I don’t think he’s already there.
Croyez-vous qu’il soit déjà là ?   Do you think he’s already there?

Croire à = to believe in

Croire à indicates a belief in the truth, existence, or effectiveness of someone/something based on intellectual reasoning.

Par exemple…

Je crois aux bienfaits de la méditation.   I believe in the benefits of meditation.
Elle croit toujours au Papa Noël.   She still believes in Santa Claus.
Est-ce que tu crois à Dieu ?   Do you believe in God? Do you believe that God exists?

Croire en = to believe in (have faith)

Croire en indicates a belief based on emotional reasoning.

Par exemple…

Je crois en karma.   I believe in karma (righting wrongs).
Elle croit en son papa.   She believes in her father (that he will show up).
Est-ce que tu crois en Dieu ?   Do you believe in God? Do you have faith in God?

Croire dans = to believe in (completely)

Croire dans combines the meanings of croire à and croire en: it indicates faith in the effectiveness of something (not someone).

Par exemple…

Je crois dans cette stratégie.   I believe in this strategy (it’s smart and I think it will work).
Croyez-vous dans cette révolution ?   Do you believe in this revolution? Is it good, will it succeed?

Se croire = to believe/think oneself, to feel as if

When croire is used pronominally, it refers to belief in one’s own situation/feelings.

Tu te crois très malin.   You think you’re so clever.
On se croirait en vacances.   You’d think we were on vacation, It feels like we’re on vacation.

Idiomatic expressions with croire

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Croire - to believe


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