Can "no doubt" mean "certainly"?

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lustdevil

Senior Member
Simplified Chinese
Speaker:No doubt the world is getting warmer and warmer.

The speaker's true thought is that the world is certainly/doubtless/definitely getting warmer!

MY grammer book is Practical English Usage, wirritten by a Brit, Michael Swan. He sates in this book, "no doubt" means "probably", rather than "certainly" , so the sentence above is

wrong!

But the explanation in AHD (American Heritage Dictionary) is :1 certainly . 2 probably .

Which one is right ? Or which one am I supposed to trust??

Is this a typical BE/AE difference?
 
  • Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    The speaker seems to be certain that the world is getting warmer. Mr. Swan does not give all the meanings that "no doubt" can have. The dictionary is right in this case.
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    This is one of those cases where plenty of context and even the speaker's tone of voice is necessary for us to know precisely what is meant.
     
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    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    'There's no doubt' means "certainly"; 'no doubt' on its own is a strong "probably", indicating the person is fairly certain but wants to hesitate or qualify it a bit.
     

    Alby84

    Senior Member
    American English
    Hmm, I'm not entirely sure I agree with Mr. Swan. Quite honestly, I think no doubt can be used as you described, however, the issue is that Americans tend to also use this as an idiomatic expression a lot (or other speakers of English as well).

    If I say, for example:

    There's no doubt about it. He's guilty. -- I clearly believe he's guilty and my intention is not to say I think he's probably guilty. (This doesn't mean he is, however).

    Another example:

    Friend: He's totally guilty.
    Me: No doubt.
    -- This is not the same as saying "probably" here.

    ***Entangled's suggestion of a "strong" probably may also be interpreted here. I think this is where tone and context come into play.

    On the other hand:

    Friend: I haven't seen John this week.
    Me: No doubt he's on vacation again.
    -- I do not know if John is on vacation. I am just using this expression to say that John goes on vacation too much and maybe that's why he's not here. "Probably" would also work here.
     
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    lustdevil

    Senior Member
    Simplified Chinese
    'There's no doubt' means "certainly"; 'no doubt' on its own is a strong "probably", indicating the person is fairly certain but wants to hesitate or qualify it a bit.
    Thanks, your opinion is the same with Mr swan's, who is the author of the book. He suggests "there is no double " in this situation. But egmont said "no doubt" also has a meaning that is "definitely". So, do you think it is a BE/AE difference?
     

    lustdevil

    Senior Member
    Simplified Chinese
    Hmm, I'm not entirely sure I agree with Mr. Swan. Quite honestly, I think no doubt can be used as you described, however, the issue is that Americans tend to also use this as an idiomatic expression a lot (or other speakers of English as well).

    If I say, for example:

    There's no doubt about it. He's guilty. -- I clearly believe he's guilty and my intention is not to say I think he's probably guilty. (This doesn't mean he is, however).

    Another example:

    Friend: He's totally guilty.
    Me: No doubt.
    -- This is not the same as saying "probably" here.

    On the other hand:

    Friend: I haven't seen John this week.
    Me: No doubt he's on vacation again.
    -- I do not know if John is on vacation. I am just using this expression to say that John goes on vacation too much and maybe that's why he's not here. "Probably" would also work here.
    Thanks a lot. Maybe a prestigious dictionary is more trustworthy.
     

    Alby84

    Senior Member
    American English
    I think Biffo may have been onto something when he asserted that tone and usage play a role. I don't think we can say that Mr. Swan speaks for all BE speakers either.
     
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