about doubt and suspect?

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cissy31612

New Member
chineses, China
dear,
In the sentence below, could the word "doubt" be replaced by "suspect"?
People never doubted his sincerity as a public servant; for he had long devoted himself to the struggle for the independence of his nation.

As we know, besides "believe to be true or probable; believe to be guilty" , suspect has a meaning referring to "having doubts about or distrust'', which is similar to the meaning of doubt.


yours sincerely,
cissy
 
  • dwipper

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    I have to disagree with Brioche. I might understand "People never suspected his sincerity as a public servant" to mean that they didn't believe he was sincere, but I might also interpret the opposite. However, I think this construction is much less common because it's a bit ambiguous. I'd say it's much more likely that you'd see 'suspect' used as an adjective e.g. "To the people, his sincerity as a public servant was never suspect."
     

    alliegator616

    Member
    English, USA
    I'm more on Brioche's side. You can say "People never suspected him" or "People never doubted his sincerity" (or "people never doubted him") I think that when you're looking at the object of "suspect", it's more likely to be a person than a thing. That's just how it sounds to me though.

    Or, if a thing is the object, it's often followed by a verb/phrase: I suspect the gun is the murder weapon.

    Any thoughts on that?
     

    . 1

    Banned
    Australian Australia
    G'day Cissy
    Welcome to the forum.
    Your command of English is a credit to you.
    Yes.
    The sentence makes perfect sense with doubt replaced by suspect and I can detect no change in meaning at all.

    .,,
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    In the sentence below, could the word "doubt" be replaced by "suspect"?
    People never doubted his sincerity as a public servant; for he had long devoted himself to the struggle for the independence of his nation.
    Hi there cissy, and welcome.
    You cannot replace the doubted there.
    To "never have doubts" about something is a positive statement. It automatically slips into sentences about people's innocence or their good intentions.
    Conversely, to "never suspect" something is a negative statement. It automaticaly slips into sentences about people's guilt or their malicious intentions.
     

    cissy31612

    New Member
    chineses, China
    Thank all of you for giving me so much information.
    and I find that both " suspect " and " doubt " have the meaning " distrust" when they are followed by the people.
    when followed by the thing, " suspect" seems to doubt the truth of this thing.
    e.g. I began to suspect his motives when he asked to borrow more.
    and " doubt" seems to have no confidence in the thing.
    e.g. If anyone doubts my ability to handle this, they should say so.

    I don't know whether it is right.
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    I agree with Brioche and maxiogee. While 'doubt' and 'suspicion' have similar connotations, although they are not synonymous, to have 'no doubt' (viz. never doubted) can not possibly be used to mean 'never suspected'. Let's look at these examples:

    They never doubted his sincerity
    - means that they were always certain that he was sincere, there was no question about it, it was a characteristic of his personality.

    They never suspected he was the mastermind of the crime.
    - means that that had never had any reason to imagine he was responsible for the crime, but they were wrong!
     

    ireney

    Modistra
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    Hello and welcome cissy,


    "Suspect" conveys a stronger element of distrust (bordering on near conviction) that something's wrong than "doubt".
     
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