“Are you sure” works when we want to ask someone whether they’re confident in their choice or decision. However, there are plenty of other choices available to us that might be better. This article will explore the best alternatives to the phrase you can use.
What Can I Ask Instead Of “Are You Sure”?
There are plenty of alternatives to using “are you sure.” This article will go over the following ones:
- Is that your final decision?
- Is that really what you want to do?
- Are you positive?
- Are you okay with that?
- Do you not want to take more time to think it over?
- Are you absolutely certain?
- Is this what you want?
The preferred version is “is that your final decision.” It works when we want to ensure that somebody has come to a complete and total decision. This allows them to think it through one last time to ensure that it’s what they want and that it won’t be a mistake.
Is That Your Final Decision?
“Is that your final decision” shows that people should put more thought into the outcome. Sometimes, people rush to make a decision or judgment. In these cases, it’s wise to ask them to rethink their “final decision” before making any sudden and drastic moves.
Of course, sometimes people are more than happy to stick with their first idea. “Is that your final decision” won’t always encourage them to change their choice. Instead, it’ll simply let them know that there may be more appropriate things to do.
If someone chooses to ignore your advice or stick to their original plan, it is ultimately up to them to decide.
Here are some ways we can use it:
- Is that your final decision? I don’t want you to be making any rash choices.
- I don’t want you to make a mistake you’ll regret. Is that your final decision?
- I can have this signed off by Monday. Is this your final decision, though?
Is That Really What You Want To Do?
“Is that really what you want to do” again works well to give people one more chance to rethink a choice. This will help them to come to a more sensible decision, even if they choose to stick with their original one. We simply ask it to remind them of other options.
When we ask questions like this, we aren’t always encouraging them to change their mind. Instead, we’re showing them that there are more layers or details that they might need to consider.
We don’t ask questions like these to show that we’re better than someone else or we think clearer. We simply do it when we’re unsure whether someone has taken the due diligence to think a decision through. If anything, we’re showing that we care, and we’re hoping for the best.
Here are some examples to show you how we can use it:
- Okay, before we go on, is that really what you want to do?
- Is that really what you want to do? I feel like you can come up with something better to help you out.
- Is that really what you want to do? I don’t want to push you, but I feel like you haven’t thought this through enough!
Are You Positive?
“Are you positive” is almost identical to “are you sure.” We replace “sure” with “positive” to show that we want people to be 100% certain of their choice. “Positive” is a way of making sure there are no “negative” thoughts or things telling them to change their minds.
There’s nothing worse than making a decision only to have your mind tell you it’s the wrong one after choosing it. If this is the case for you, it’s likely that you weren’t “positive” about the decision you made.
That’s why people use the question “are you positive.” It helps us to show that there are always more options.
Here’s how we can make it work:
- Are you positive that this is how you want to go about it? I’m sure there are other ways.
- Are you positive? I don’t want you to think about it and get upset that you might have made the wrong choice.
- Okay, are you positive? Because I’ve been there before, and I hated being wrong!
Are You Okay With That?
“Are you okay with that” reiterates that there might be more to think about than you first think. We can use it to remind people that they should take a little bit more time to mull things over before coming to an ultimate decision.
Sometimes, we use a question like “are you sure” or “are you okay with that” when there’s an obvious outcome. We might want to state the outcome (whether it’s positive or negative) and ask someone whether they’re “okay” with it coming true.
If they still agree that they’re fine with it, then it’s likely that their current choice is the correct one for them, and you should let them carry it out.
Check out these examples to see what sets “are you okay with that” apart:
- Okay, well, it’s clearly going to have some negative effects on you if you do it. Are you okay with that?
- I think you’re ignoring some pretty important issues here when making this decision. Are you okay with that?
- Are you okay with that? I don’t want you to regret anything when we put this idea forward.
Do You Not Want To Take More Time To Think It Over?
“Do you not want to take more time to think it over” gives people a chance to rethink. It’s much less subtle than the others because we’re specifically asking them whether they want to take a few more minutes to think. They can come back with a new answer after that time.
Of course, the question can be turned down with a simple “no.” If someone is not willing to take more time to think something over, that’s up to them.
However, if they do choose to take the time, you might have saved them from making a difficult or incorrect decision. This could be useful when you want them to ensure that they get the best result possible.
These examples will show you how it works:
- Alright, but once I lock this answer in, that’s it. Do you not want to take more time to think it over?
- We can end it here, but do you not want to take more time to think it over?
- I can take this offer from you right now. However, do you not want to take more time to think it over before giving me this final copy?
Are You Absolutely Certain?
“Are you absolutely certain” makes sure there is no room for error. We use “absolutely” to really drive in the fact that we want somebody to be sure of their choices. It might not always work, but it’s worth drawing attention to it nonetheless.
Using “absolutely” as a modifier in a question like this is more informal than anything else. We don’t typically use questions like this formally because it doesn’t follow typical formal language structures (where words like “absolutely,” “particularly,” or “specifically” are left out).
Here are some examples to show you how it works:
- Are you absolutely certain this is what you choose? There are other options.
- Before I go through with this for you, are you absolutely certain you won’t change your mind?
- Are you absolutely certain about this marriage? I need you to commit fully.
Is This What You Want?
“Is this what you want” works when we want to ask whether someone has made the correct choice. Usually, we can tell that something is bothering them, and we might ask this question even when we know the answer.
Sometimes, people will make it clear through their body language or words that they aren’t comfortable with a choice they made. We can use this question to ask that and see if there’s anything we can do to help.
Here are some examples:
- Is this what you want? Because I can tell that it’s eating away at you.
- Is that what you want? I don’t think you’ve thought this through fully.
- Before you decide that, is that what you really want? I don’t want you to make the same mistake as me.
Is “Are You Sure” Polite?
Now that we’ve checked all the likely alternatives, it’s time to see whether the original phrase is polite or not. It would help us to understand whether it’s worth using.
“Are you sure” is polite, but it’s not the most formal choice. Typically, we use it to clarify someone else’s choice or decision. However, it works well informally more than it does formally, and there are more polite options available to us.
With all that said, “are you sure” is not a rude phrase. We simply want to clarify that people are going to do a certain action before they do it. It gives them a chance to rethink, if necessary, and perhaps change their course of action.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.