Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

doubt or questions in English

When you want to ask a question in English, do you use the “doubt”?

If so then you might be translating directly from your native language.

Today we’ll show you why this is a false friend trap and how to fix it.


The problem:

We get a lot of questions from Brazilian students and maybe some Spanish speakers. They say “I have a doubt” and then they ask their question.


What’s the problem with this?

It’s not exactly correct.

What you should say is “I have a question ______”

Also avoid this phrase, “I have a query, ______”

We have seen this from Indian students.

It might work in British English, but it’s not so natural in American English.


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What does “I have a doubt” in English mean?

To have a doubt means to be unsure about something but not that you are about to ask a question.

Here are some examples:

  • “I am having doubts”: I am questioning something. This is a deeper issue that you are thinking through. 
  • “I have no doubt”: I am sure about something. I am confident that something will happen.
  • “I doubt it”:
    • A: Will you keep dating him?
    • B: I doubt it
  • “I don’t doubt it”- believe it
  • “No doubt”:I am sure of it


Here is another example:

A: So I heard you decided to move to Southern California? That’s so exciting!

B: Yeah it sounded good a few months ago but now that it’s almost time to leave I am having doubts.


We could do a different episode on the word “doubt” but don’t worry about that for now.

For today just know that you can’t translate it directly from your language if you’re from Brazil.


Other ways to open a question:

  • I have a question, I have a question about…
  • I am confused about….
  • I want to check on something…
  • I am questioning this data that I got….
  • I need a little help with something…


What questions do you have from today?

Let us know in the comments below.

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