Does anyone know the difference (if there is a difference) between 肯定 and 确定?

I seem to have trouble in knowing when to use each of them in certain contexts.

  • 肯定 certain; sure; affirm; (the outcome is virtually a fact)

  • 确定 determine; confirm; finalize (the outcome is already a fact)

You can say, "Team China certainly (肯定) will lose to team Germany in the World Cup." The outcome has not been known yet.

You can say, "Team China beat team Japan and is confirmed (确定) to advance to the second round." The outcome is known.

But you cannot say, "Team China confirmed (确定) will lose to team Germany in the World Cup." They haven't played yet.

  • 确定 (to finalize): finalize the team roster

  • 肯定 (to affirm): affirm his earlier statement

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  • Thank you! This helps so much! (I gave you an upvote but I'm a new member so it is not displayed publicly yet :'( ) – milk Nov 22 '16 at 2:03


你确定/肯定他就是凶手吗? 我确定/肯定。




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  • 確定 means "determine/ confirm /finalize" ; 肯定 means "certain/ sure /affirm". They are not interchangeable. Just look at your example sentence:"你確定他是兇手嗎?(You determine that he is the killer?) ; "你肯定他是兇手嗎?"(Are you sure that he is the killer?) – Tang Ho Nov 22 '16 at 11:41
  • 😂按你的意思的话,把“确定”换成“确认”应该好一点吧。 – user7175903 Nov 23 '16 at 9:52

I don't have enough reputation yet to comment, but I wanted to try to translate what J.tom said.

As I understand it:

Basically it's the same, but I think '肯定' is more subjective, while '确定' is more objective. Moreover, '肯定' is generally associated with people, especially when people are the subject. '确定', however, tends to describe things, events, etc., when things are the subject. For example, "This matter is 确定(determined) like this."

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    这件事(this matter )就这么( just like this), ‘确定’下来了(has been determined/confirmed) - 确定 is a verb here – Tang Ho Nov 28 '16 at 13:06

基本一样,但我觉得‘肯定’比较偏主观,’确定’比较偏客观。 而且‘肯定’一般是和人相关的,主体是‘人’,比如获得某人的‘肯定’。 ‘确定’偏向描述事物,事件等,主体是‘事’。这件事就这么‘确定’下来了

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    Would you mind explain it in English so as to let the foreigners understand what you said? – xqMogvKW Nov 26 '16 at 1:53
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    I wanna to,but I don't know how to say. – J.tom Nov 27 '16 at 16:06

In Chinese, there are many characters that are very similar. One situation is that a character has different meanings on the basis of different pronunciations, like 长 (“chánɡ” and “zhǎnɡ”) and 假 (“jiǎ” and “jià”). The other situation is that several characters look like but have different meanings.

  1. Differences in Meaning

肯定 1). approve or accept something

e.g.: 领导对你的表现非常肯定。(Pinyin: lǐnɡ dǎo duì nǐ de biǎo xiàn fēi chánɡ kěn dìnɡ. Meaning: The leader gives high praise to your performance.)

2). ensure, be sure

e.g.: 我肯定他会准时来的。(Pinyin: wǒ kěn dìnɡ tā huì zhǔn shí lái de. Meaning: I ensure that he will come here on time.)

3). unquestionably and indisputably

e.g.: 你肯定能顺利通过这次考试的。(Pinyin: nǐ kěn dìnɡ nénɡ shùn lì tōnɡ ɡuò zhè cì kǎo shì de. Meaning: You can unquestionably pass the exam.)

确定 1). ensure, be sure (in this situation, 确定 is the same with 肯定)

e.g.: 我确定他会来。(Pinyin: wǒ què dìnɡ tā huì lái. Meaning: I’m sure he will come.)

一定 1). definitely, must

e.g.: 你一定是个好学生。(Pinyin: nǐ yí dìnɡ shì ɡè hào xué shenɡ. Meaning: you must be a good student.) In this situation, 一定 is equal to 肯定.

2). a certain degree/extent

e.g.: 在一定程度上,男性更容易找到工作。(Pinyin: zài yí dìnɡ chénɡ dù shànɡ, nán xìnɡ ɡènɡ rónɡ yì zhǎo dào ɡōnɡ zuò. Meaning: To a certain extent, it’s easier for men to get work.)

3). a certain amount

e.g.: 在达到一定金额的情况下,必须报关。(Pinyin: zài dá dào yí dìnɡ jīn é de qínɡ kuànɡ xià, bì xū bào ɡuān. Meaning: Declaration is to reach a certain amount of cases must be declared.)

  1. Differences in the part of speech

肯定 1). verb.

means “approve or accept something”, or “ensure and be sure”

2). adverb

means unquestionably and indisputably

确定 1). verb

means “ensure and be sure”

一定 1). adverb

means “definitely”

2). adjective

means “certain”, such as a certain amount, a certain degree and a certain extent.

OK. above are all content that I want to share with you. If you have any questions about Chinese characters “肯定” “确定” and “一定”, just leave messages below or contact me via my facebook page.

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肯定表示认同,确定则是表示认准后决定的. 肯定和确定分别是: 判断的决定性 和 无法更改的事实 肯定代表是个人观点:就是自己主观上认为的事实 确定指的是有证据可以表明的事实. you say '我肯定这个人就是凶手'表示个人主观上所认为是事实,自身对这个观点很肯定。 you say '我确定这个人就是凶手'指拥有证据或已经发生(出现)的一个事实. 以上是我个人的理解.

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  • Since the question is in English, would you mind translating your answer? – Tsundoku Dec 17 '17 at 21:44

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