Thursday, January 8, 2015

doubt that/doubt whether/doubt if: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Friday, January 9, 2015

doubt that/doubt whether/doubt if
If you really doubt that something is true (suspect that it’s false), use “doubt that”: “I doubt that Fred has really lost 25 pounds.” If you want to express genuine uncertainty, use “whether”: “I doubt whether we’ll see the comet if the clouds don’t clear soon.” “Doubt if” can be substituted for “doubt whether,” though it’s considered somewhat more casual, but don’t use it when you mean “doubt that.”

This is the ten-year anniversary of the Common Errors in English Usage calendar. To celebrate, we are bringing back some of our favorite interesting, funny, but sometimes merely silly entries through the years before going on hiatus in 2016.

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