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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > I have a doubt     

I have a doubt

United Kingdom

I have a doubt
Hi Everyone

I hope nobody minds me pointing this out but gosh, if I had a dollar for every time somebody posts "I have a doubt"..... or one of my students says this when they don �t understand something, I �d be a very very rich lady (wouldn �t give up English teaching though. Honest!!!)

See if you can catch a native speaker saying it though! It �s just not something we say when we are having problems understanding something, even though "doubt" is to do with uncertainty.

When you �re not sure about what the difference between "among" and "between" is, or why your w/s has been reported, or the difference between "going to" and "will" for the future, how about saying:

"I have a question"
"I �m having trouble with..."
"I have a problem with ...."
"I don �t understand ....."
"I �m confused about ...."
"Can someone help me understand..."

Now of course, I had my doubts about posting this. But hey, I �m going to stick my neck out. I doubt most of you will mind.

Have a great weekend everyone!

La Colibrita

21 Aug 2010      


Hello, dear Colibrita! "Can you help me understand" your sentence "I �m going to stick my neck out"?  Is it an idiomatic saying related to old times beheadings?
Thank you so much and have a wonderful weekend.

21 Aug 2010     

United Kingdom

Hi Mariannina

Good question! In fact I have no idea where the expression came from but I �ve come across this:


I like the turtle idea!

Anyway I can tell you the meaning: to give an opinion which some people may not like or are afraid to give.

Best wishes

21 Aug 2010     


Thanks, Colibrita. That �s really an interesting point. And it helps to know stuff like that from native speakers... 
Btw, I just love idioms - once you try to translate them logically, it �s like Lewis Carroll....

21 Aug 2010     

United States

But you CAN say
I �m in doubt about something.  (not I have a doubt)

good message!!!

21 Aug 2010     



21 Aug 2010     


Yay, Colibrita. I would also be a rich woman. I �ve got to the stage where I hardly flinch any more when my students say "I have a doubt".
Thanks for the alternatives as I �m often lost for a more natural correction.
Libertybelle is also correct.
Cheers Joy

21 Aug 2010     


Hug Ah, my dear colibrita! I would also be a millionaire if I had a euro each time I heard "I have a doubt"... and like Joy, I have gotten to the point that I hardly flinch or go into silent convulsions anymore when I hear it! lol

Thanks again, for "sticking your neck out" and gently reminding everybody about this very common faux pas...

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!!


21 Aug 2010     


Well, if I got a pound for every pupil who says something like "I have a doubt" (even if it is not correct) I would be really happy but I would certainly not be rich. Some pupils will just nod their heads when I ask "Did you understand?" or "Is there any doubt/problem?" even if they haven �t understood at all. Unhappy

21 Aug 2010     

Learning Together

Great post! It`s so important to have a native speaker �s correction!
Don`t be afraid! Say everything you think Colibrita.. In the end we spend our lives studying but we �ll never sound natural.. Thumbs Up
Thanks a lot

21 Aug 2010     

United Kingdom

Thanks Colibrita for a great post.  I have been a member here now for 2 and a half years and the first time I ever saw this phrase was in this forum - I have seen it used so much that I started to �have a doubt � that it was wrong lol.

21 Aug 2010     

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