The two words mean approximately the same thing but I find that there is a nuance I'm missing in terms of the appropriate context to use one or the other. How should I think about the difference between these two?

  • +1, I've also found myself wondering this. Since I don't know the answer I'll just make a comment: Oxford Chinese Dictionary states 确定 is a verb or an adjective, whereas 决定 is a verb or a noun, which at the least means usage is different.
    – Ming
    Commented May 9, 2014 at 1:53
  • 作为中国人,一直认为decide是"决定"的意思,没想到还能当"确定"用 Pingting decided that ‘Dong Dignan’ spent money extravagantly and admired his tactics. 中文大概意思是 Pingting通过一些事,确定‘Dong Dignan’是个花钱大手大脚的人
    – Zhang
    Commented Jul 2, 2020 at 1:46

3 Answers 3


确定 means 'be sure' or 'comfirm'/'be confirmed'. 我确定他会回来的.(I'm sure he will be back.)

决定 (v) means 'decide to do'. 我决定做...(I decide to do something...)

决定 (n) means 'decision'. 我终于做出了决定.(Finally, I made my decision.)

  • 2
    Don't know if this helps - but I think it's useful: 确定, like Soony said, means "to be sure" : so like in English when we want to say "are you sure?!" - in Chinese you can just say "确定吗?" .... but you could never say "决定吗?" if anything you could say "决定了吗?" which would just mean "have you decided?", "have you made a decision?" or "have you made a choice?" ... hope that clears things up a bit
    – Mou某
    Commented May 9, 2014 at 3:20
  • 1
    @user3306356 does that make 确定 like 肯定?
    – Ming
    Commented May 9, 2014 at 5:28
  • 1
    '我确定答案是B' has the same meaning as '我肯定答案是B'. Both of the two sentences mean 'I'm sure the answer is B'. But '肯定' also has a meaning of 'must be'. '这车肯定出故障了'(There must be something wrong with the car.), where you can't use '确定'. It has to be 'SOMEONE 肯定...'.
    – Soony
    Commented May 9, 2014 at 5:45
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    @Soony I was following you up until "It has to be 'SOMEONE 肯定...'" because your example used '这车' rather than a someone?
    – Ming
    Commented May 9, 2014 at 7:31
  • 1
    Ah, my mistake. Obviously I meant 'SOMETHING 肯定 ...'. People use this to state the their conclusion/judgement.
    – Soony
    Commented May 9, 2014 at 7:57

确定 means sure that / sure to do something.

(我确定他在中午之前一定能把那碗饭吃完。)--> I am sure that he will be able to finish eating that plate of rice.

决定(N) means decision.

(二十分钟后,他终于做出了决定。)--> 20 minutes later, he finally made his decision.

决定(V) means decide to do something.

(我决定吃饭。)--> I decided to eat rice.

Hope this helped. (:


确定=i am sure that 决定=i decide to do sth

  • Sorry this is wrong. Avery's referring to the verb usage of 确定, as in, 'to confirm'. Commented May 12, 2014 at 3:01

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