I am going to imply that I have a feeling which doesn't let me believe something can be absolutely true (I have some doubts in my mind whether it is true or still I should not believe it completely.) How can I convey this message?

I know two idioms:

First: Deep down inside
Second: in one's stomach (I have just heard this one, but cannot find any reliable source for it.)

Let me make up a scenario to clarify my intention.

I am wondering which one of these two idioms can be used in scenario below?

Though he told me that he would pay me back the money he borrowed three months ago, but...........

a. deep down inside, I don't trust him. Because I know that he's unemployed at the moment.
b. I don't trust him in my stomach. Because I know that he's unemployed at the moment.

To me, 'a' makes a perfect sense, but I doubt if it is natural here.

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    I think the phrase you're looking for in b is in the pit of my stomach. It is not idiomatic with the "in the pit" part. – Canadian Yankee May 20 at 14:28
  • Well @Camadian Yankee, could you please let me know if using this idiom, both of my choices will work and will mean the same thing? (I mean choice "a" using "deep down" and choice "b" using "in the pit of my stomach".) – A-friend May 20 at 17:46
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    "A" reads okay, but "b" does not. The "pit of your stomach" is where you have bad emotions, but not conscious thoughts like trusting people. You could say, "I'd like to trust him, but it gives me a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach." The trusting happens in your brain, but it makes you almost feel sick to your stomach because you're so nervous about it. – Canadian Yankee May 21 at 12:34
  • I got the point @Canadian Yankee. Just if I rephrase my choices and want to talk about my worry and say: "deep down inside, I'm a bit worried" then do you think again the "deep down version" works better than the one with "in the pit of my stomach"? I.e. "deep down inside, I'm a bit worried" VS "In the pot of my stomach, I'm a bit worried". Which one sounds natural to you? – A-friend May 21 at 22:56
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    "Deep down" is better, because you can't really be "worried" in the pit of your stomach. Again, worry is a mental state, and what you feel in the pit of your stomach is not mental, it's more physical and reflexive. So you could say, "in the pit of my stomach, I have a bad feeling." – Canadian Yankee May 22 at 13:08

I have never heard "in my stomach." I suspect what is intended "in my gut." What is meant by that informal figure of speech is a belief held either without any objective supporting evidence or despite objective rebutting evidence. So it is not completely appropriate in the scenario that you sketched because you have objective evidence making his payment doubtful, namely his being unemployed.

The "deep down inside" figure of speech has a very similar meaning but tends to be limited to beliefs about emotional states, which by their very nature cannot be supported by objective evidence.

He says he loves me, but deep down inside, he is still in love with his former wife.

So again it is not totally appropriate in your scenario.

But there are lots of ways of informally expressing doubt ranging from the mild disbelief of

I have my doubts

to the utter incredulity of

Yeah, when pigs can fly

I am not saying that "in my gut" and "deep down inside" are not common. They are quite common ways to preface an opinion that can be backed with little or no evidence. But neither seems quite right for the type of situation that you have specified.

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  • Well @Jeff Morrow I need an expression which can be connected to "I'm a bit worried". As you can see in your example "He says he loves me, but deep down inside, he is still in love with his former wife" the idiom "deep down inside" is expressing his feelings / emotions. I have no idea why this idiom cannot be used for "worry" which is a kind of feeling too? – A-friend May 20 at 12:07
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    @A-friend True. Worry is an emotion. But the "deep down inside" usually refers to things that are not easily apparent but are emotionally important. They refer to things that are central to who a particular person is, to the "core" of a person. So the phrase seems to me slightly off for the situation you outlined. But that is just my opinion. "Deep down inside" is not wrong. It just seems to me that something like "Despite what he promised, I can't help feeling a bit worried because, after all, he is out of work" is more natural. But that is not a rule of grammar, just my impression. – Jeff Morrow May 20 at 12:52
  • Well @Jeff Morrow, I guess I made a mistake. The correct idiom is "in the pit of one's stomach"! Then could you please let me know if I use it in "b" then both choices will mean the same? I f not, then what is the difference between them? – A-friend May 20 at 22:56
  • First, you are not asking a question about grammar but about very slight nuances in usage. So you will get answers that may vary but still be reasonable. Second, "in the pit of my stomach" is not, in my experience, used to indicate doubt, but strongly negative emotion, typically physical fear. Of course, fear and doubt frequently go together. Third, as I have previously said, I do not feel that either of these expressions would likely be used by a native speaker in the situation you outlined. Why do you limit your search to just those two? – Jeff Morrow May 21 at 13:27

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