a feeling of not being certain about something —macmillan

Doubt is often seen to be used in a sense that there is question whether certain things is going to happen or to be in a certain way, in other words, certain thing is true.

There seems to be some doubt as to whether this is legal.

The above example states there's question whether "this" is legal.

But can we use doubt in the sense of "inquiry"?

I found the works from the site you gave me, but I have doubts about how it works.

The above example is clearly trying to say "I don't know how it works". It's more of a question asking than really expressing a feeling about certain things is true.

Is this usage correct?

  • 3
    It is wrong to use "doubt" to mean "question" in any context. Your second example doesn't clearly try to say, "I don't know how it works." Using "doubt" to mean "question" is a habit I have seen among a lot of Indians, but it is wrong.
    – Masked Man
    Jan 24, 2014 at 5:03
  • @Happy there are many native English speakers from India who use doubt in this way, so it is by definition not wrong. It may not have this definition in your dialect, but that is different.
    – hunter
    Jan 24, 2014 at 6:10
  • @hunter There aren't that many native English speakers in India as you like to imagine. Moreover, it is highly unlikely that a native speaker would use it this way, because the reason why "doubt" creeps in into a sentence framed by an Indian speaker is because in most Indian languages, the word for doubt is also used to indicate that you want to ask a question. Non-native English speakers in India tend to translate word-for-word from their mother tongue when they get stuck. I am not complaining about it, because speaking perfect English is not the only or the most important thing in life.
    – Masked Man
    Jan 24, 2014 at 11:57

2 Answers 2


When you have your doubts about something, you are skeptical about it. This is generally spoken in negation.

have your doubt about something - to have reasons why you are not certain about whether something is good or whether something good will happen.

As Happy stated in the comment, it's incorrect to use doubt here in that context especially when you are talking about the methodology of those sites. The better ways could be...

I'm quite unclear how it works.
I'm not sure how does it work.

When you doubt that site, you are not sure whether that site is genuine. When you are not sure about how does that site work, you are not clear about the methodology or which way it functions.


Answer one: This secondary definition of doubt (to mean, roughly, "question") is a very common feature of the English of India, which is a perfectly legitimate dialect of English.

Answer two: you will likely confuse people if you use it this way, especially if they are unfamiliar with answer one.

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