If I wanted to confront someone, suppose a girl, whom I doubt of doing certain things, but still not sure if she is the one who actually did them.

So, I go to her and say:

I'm here to overcome my doubts about you by asking you directly if you did this and this...etc

My question:

Is there a common/known phrase or maybe idiom that summarizes that saying (doesn't necessarily have to be that one, but anything with the same case)?

I think there's a phrase that would be similar to break the doubt with certainty, but I searched it on the internet and found nothing similar to it.

  • I have used "break" as in the idiom "Break the news" where it isn't used literally; however, I don't want it to mean "reveal".
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    "Doubt" is a word that is very often misused by non-native speakers, and especially learners from the Indian sub-continent. I suspect this is a result of "translationese". For example "I doubt the girl for doing certain things" is an odd expression. You might say "I want to confront a girl who I suspect of doing certain things"
    – James K
    Mar 18, 2019 at 21:39
  • Yes, that's sound much better and more importantly correct. I'm just editing the preposition in my current question as it irritates me pretty much. Mar 18, 2019 at 22:43

3 Answers 3


As for your example sentence- one thing I would do as an American English speaker is to replace the word doubts with the word suspicions- to overcome suspicions sounds better to me than to overcome doubts.

I think for this example sentence the phrases suggested by Kyle in his answer are all good, as well as “clear the air” as suggested by Canadian Yankee. “Smooth things over” is a phrase with a similar meaning also.

In terms of the phrase you mention that you translate as “break the doubt with certainty”, sometimes expressions in other languages sound awkward when translated into English literally. Though I understand your frustration at not having an exact translation, I am not sure there is a particular idiom that exactly matches the original (either in overall meaning or in using the same words). The best I can think of is let the truth speak for itself.

  • Thank you for the suggested phrases especially the last one; it makes a great alternative. Just to make things clear, I didn't get frustrated over that but on my misusage of the preposition "for"; otherwise, I would have been unrealistic. Mar 19, 2019 at 12:10
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    Ah ok, I see your comment about how that preposition irritated you. It’s not unrealistic to want to find a good translation in English for a phrase in another language! That’s what this site is for!
    – Mixolydian
    Mar 19, 2019 at 12:17

Clear up Clarify, explain, solve, as in:

Let's try to clear up this misunderstanding.

Straighten out To resolve, clarify, or organize some confusion, disorder, or misunderstanding. A noun or pronoun can be used between "straighten" and "out."

I need to go straighten things out between me and Sandy. The project got so muddled that they had to bring in an outside advisor to straighten it all out. Please straighten out those files before you go.

Sort out To understand or resolve a problem or conflict. A noun can be used between "sort" and "out."

They brought in the head of human resources to sort the issue out. I've spent nearly an hour on this math problem, but I still can't sort it out.

Come clean To admit something to someone, often regarding a wrongdoing that one has tried to hide.

I need you to come clean with me and tell me what happened.

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    Related: Clear the air - to eliminate dissension, ambiguity, or tension from a discussion, situation, etc. Mar 18, 2019 at 21:27
  • Thanks for such accurate suggestions although I hoped of finding something similar to the phrase I've stated above as it is translated from my native language and I happened to like its form. Mar 18, 2019 at 22:48

If you get rid of the doubts by ignoring them, you "quash" those doubts. ("Shut up!" he explained.)

If you get rid of the doubts by removing any sensible basis for them, you "dispel" them.

  • Thank you for these interesting terms. Would saying Dispel the suspicions by certainty make a valid statement? Mar 19, 2019 at 12:08
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    @Tasneem Zh not really, you wouldn’t use “by certainty” that way. If you dispel doubts (this is a phrase where “doubts” sounds better than “suspicions” to me, though they’re both ok) it is already implied that there is some “certainty” or truth that enabled you to get rid of those doubts or suspicions. It’s redundant and doesn’t sound natural.
    – Mixolydian
    Mar 19, 2019 at 13:03
  • @Mixolydian | Coming up with phrases is not an easy task I assume. Thanks for telling me that. So it has to be simply Dispel doubts. Mar 19, 2019 at 17:42

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