Results 1 to 7 of 7
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Malaysia
      • Current Location:
      • Malaysia

    • Join Date: Nov 2010
    • Posts: 3
    #1

    disbelieving or unbelieving?

    Can anyone tell me the difference in meaning between these two when they are used as participles?

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 19,218
    #2

    Re: disbelieving or unbelieving?

    Hi william-tan, and welcome to Using English.

    I don't believe I have ever used "unbelieving."

    Can you write the sentence you'd like to use it in?
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Malaysia
      • Current Location:
      • Malaysia

    • Join Date: Nov 2010
    • Posts: 3
    #3

    Re: disbelieving or unbelieving?

    Thanks for the response. I'm new here.

    Do you think either one of the two (disbelieivng and unbelieving) is suitable in this sentence:

    One of the things that happen before our unbelieving eyes is a motocycle rider with four child passengers.

    By the way, the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary has this to say about unbelieving:

    "feeling or showing that you do not believe sb/sth: She stared at us with unbelieivng eyes".

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 19,218
    #4

    Re: disbelieving or unbelieving?

    That's a great example.

    I think if you can imagine saying "That's unbelievable!" (That defies belief) than "unbelieving" makes sense.

    If you can imagine saying "I don't believe you." (I think you are lying or at least mistaken), then "disbelieving" makes sense.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Malaysia
      • Current Location:
      • Malaysia

    • Join Date: Nov 2010
    • Posts: 3
    #5

    Re: disbelieving or unbelieving?

    Thanks. I think what you said makes sense. Any idea where we can get a more affirmative answer? To be honest, I wonder why both editions of my Oxford Dictionary have failed to make a clear distinction between the two. Is it because they are not certain too? Would be interesting to get your views from the perspective of a native speaker.

  3. bhaisahab's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Ireland

    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 25,624
    #6

    Re: disbelieving or unbelieving?

    Quote Originally Posted by william-tan View Post
    Thanks. I think what you said makes sense. Any idea where we can get a more affirmative answer? To be honest, I wonder why both editions of my Oxford Dictionary have failed to make a clear distinction between the two. Is it because they are not certain too? Would be interesting to get your views from the perspective of a native speaker.
    They have the same meaning IMO.

  4. Newbie
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jan 2011
    • Posts: 1
    #7

    Re: disbelieving or unbelieving?

    Hi,

    I am not a teacher, but--and I'm not trying to be funny here--I believe there is a difference between disbelieving and unbelieving.

    --Disbelieving means to dismiss entirely as being believable.

    --Unbelieving means to doubt as being believable.

    Allow me to use them in sentences:

    --The disbelieving judge listened as the man holding the ax and the bloody head claimed his innocence. (The judge refused to, literally could not, believe the ax murderer because he was holding an ax and the victim's head.)

    --The unbelieving crowd watched as the fat man devoured 20 cheeseburgers. (The crowd doubted he could eat 20 cheeseburgers, but here they were witnessing him do it.)


    Does this make sense? Another interesting way to separate the two words is that, although disbelieving and unbelieving are both ADJECTIVES, only disbelieving is also a VERB. You can disbelieve something, but you can't unbelieve something.

    And just to confuse matters even more: Both unbelieving and disbelieving, along with nonbelieving, can be NOUNS, as in unbeliever, disbeliever, and nonbeliever.

    *Whew* I hope this helps.

    RJ

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •