I have a doubt…

By Sharmila Gautama

Sreenidhi, a friend of mine, dropped in for a brief chat and mentioned that she read my blog post on not using ‘revert back’. Having lived in the US for about 6 years, she shared another phrase that doesn’t go well with a global audience – doubt incorrectly used to mean ‘question, concern or clarification’.

That got me thinking.

I remember my school teachers telling me that I should clear all my doubts’ before the exams! I also remember many instances at work when after a briefing session the speaker has asked us if we had any doubts and it was time to clear them now.

The word doubt has become synonymous with question. To a native speaker, the word doubt means ‘lack of trust’. Just imagine the reaction of a native speaker to this question, “I have a doubt about the way things work here”. In all innocence you mean you have a lot of questions, but to him, it has a very different implication.

So, use the word question or clarification when you need an explanation.

When in doubt, don’t use doubt!