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Is it valid to say 'I'm incredulous." all by itself as a standalone sentence? The intent is to convey that I am in disbelief. Thanks.

  • Like I am in disbelief and I am sleepy, this is a grammatical simple English sentence, with a Predicate Adjective. You do want to be careful where you use that sentence, though, because -- depending on how you say it and how your listeners hear and interpret it -- some people might hear it as I'm incredible, since that's by far more common as a predicate adjective, and it would sound like bragging to them. Of course, all of your addressees are no doubt very well educated and wouldn't make that mistake. Still, you never know who might be listening. – John Lawler Dec 4 '13 at 21:11
  • It's interesting that when we say "He is credulous" we usually mean he habitually tends to believe anything, irrespective of "objective" credibility. But as both answers here indicate, incredulous is almost never used with that "general disposition" sense - it's almost always used in respect of some specific thing which isn't believed. – FumbleFingers Dec 4 '13 at 21:23
  • "I am in disbelief" ? I don't believe it! – David Jun 16 '17 at 12:21
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It's normally used when speaking with regard to someone else. The subject is also normally included. - 'He was incredulous at the news.'

Speaking about yourself with no subject, except the implied context in which the phrase is stated, you might use "skeptical" - 'I'm skeptical.'

Yes it is valid to say, 'I'm incredulous.', though you may want to include the subject about which you're incredulous, if it hasn't been implied by the context of the conversation or writing. Not doing so can be interpreted as being "stuffy or stuck up, thumb your nose up at...".

  • The subject is ‘I’. The thing you’re incredulous at may be thought of as the ‘object of your incredulity’, but it is not the subject. Grammatically, it is the object to a preposition and found in an adverbial phrase; but just calling it the thing you’re incredulous at is probably easier, and definitely less confusing. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 4 '13 at 23:52
  • @JanusBahsJacquet I suspect Electric was using the common definition of "subject" as a synonym for "topic being referenced" rather than the technical term used in discussions of grammar. While the grammar-jargon meaning is more common on this site, the other meaning is also valid, and seems reasonably clear from context. – user867 Dec 5 '13 at 3:19
  • "He was incredulous at the news". What language is that? – David Jun 16 '17 at 12:22
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"I am x" or "I'm x" is a full sentence, with subject and verb, as long as x is an adjective.

Incredulous is an adjective, so this is a valid sentence.

It doesn't say much, and as Electric says, it's usually used to describe something you are incredulous about. But it is valid.

  • Thank you both for the great answers. I'll be sure to include the subject next time. – Shades Dec 4 '13 at 20:58
  • @Shades You should feel free to leave the subject out if it's clear from context, of course. – user867 Dec 5 '13 at 3:21
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I still think it's an awkward use of the word, "incredulous". I would rather that I be "skeptical" or that he/she be "skeptical".

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    Hi @Victoria, welcome to English Language & Usage. ELU encourages answers which provide some context and/or explanation. Please provide this, when applicable, in your responses. Thanks! – freeling10 Feb 20 '17 at 18:56

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