Submitted by eduardo2 on February 11, 2005


As a non-native teacher of English as a Foreign Language, I have always frowned on my students’ use of the sentence “I have a doubt”.

Judging it a typical case of language transfer, I promptly tell them that they should instead say that they “have a question”.

After coming across the sentence “if students have doubt” in a teacher’s guide, I don’t feel so self-assured as to jump on my students’ phrase anymore.

Any comment on this usage will be greatly appreciated.



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A native speaker would never use 'doubt' interchangably with 'question' in the context you gave.

"I have a question" carries the implication that one does not understand.

"I have doubts" carries the implication that one understands, but does not agree.

Your teachers guide is also right. To me, it's hinting at a case in which the students are questioning something because it disagrees with something they learned before.

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I agree 100%. No doubts here :)

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Thank you Alchemae for sharing your insightful comment.

It seems that some of them will still say "I have a doubt" :)

take care


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i actually saw a movie on the basis of the relgious faith, and it talked about the difference between doubt and question.

a doubter, doubts and does not seek an answer.
a questioner, those that are inquisitive, questions because they seek an answer.

so.. "I have a doubt" is a very negative phrase if compared to the culture of the world of human flourishing

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