Doubt vs Question – Confusing English Words Lesson

Michael Conversational Phrases 1 Comment

I doubt you have seen an English lesson dealing with this point before, so I’ve decided to write this today. Actually, this lesson was inspired by one of my readers from Brazil. He wanted to ask me a question, but he said, “I have a doubt about….” Today, let’s have a look at the difference between these two words.

We use doubt as a noun to mean, “a feeling of uncertainty.” We generally use the verb have with doubt.

  • She said she loves me, but I have some doubts about her feelings.
  • Jack said he has some doubts about his ability to finish the project by Friday.
  • I have no doubt that the people who read this website are very interested in improving their English.

We also use doubt as a verb with the meaning of, “to feel uncertain about ~” or “to not believe~”

  • She said she loves me, but I doubt she is telling me the truth. I don’t believe she really loves me.
  • After many years believing in his church’s teachings, Jim has started to doubt what they say. Jack has started to not believe what they say.
  • Jack said he doubts his ability to finish the project by Friday. Jack is uncertain about his ability…
  • I don’t doubt that the people who read this website are very interested in improving their English. I have no uncertain feelings about the readers of this website.

We use question as a noun to mean “a statement made to obtain information:”

  • I asked her a question about her love for me.
  • Jack has several questions about the project which is due on Friday.
  • If you have any questions about this lesson, or any other lesson on this blog, please feel free to ask me.

We use question as a verb to mean, “to ask questions in order to obtain information” or “to as questions in order to clear up doubt.” This use of the verb question is often used in formal or official situations:

  • The police questioned the suspect for several hours.  ~ in order to obtain information.
  • The boss questioned Jack about the project he is working on. ~ in order to obtain information.
  • I questioned her love for me, and she became angry.
  • I have never questioned my reader’s support of this website.

In summary, when you want to obtain information by asking, use question. Question refers to an action; the action of questioning. However, doubt refers to a feeling. When you feel uncertain about something, use doubt:

  • I have a question. How many lessons are here on this website?
  • I have some doubts about his ability to finish the project. He’s not such a quick worker.

Now, it’s your turn. How about writing a few sentences using this vocabulary in the comment box below? I’ll review them for you! Or, click the button on the right side to leave me a voice message. If you want to leave a voice message, be sure to say your name, where you are from, and then your message!

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