Doubtless and undoubtedly

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Eugens

Senior Member
Argentina Spanish
Hi,

Is there any difference in meaning between "doubtless" and "undoubtedly"? Can these words be used interchangeably? For example, in these sentences, can I replace one word for the other?:

Whatever he says he'll doubtless be criticised by the media.
It is a superb film and undoubtedly one of the best he has made.
Thank you!
 
  • river

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    doubtless - you are certain that something will happen or is true.
    undoubtedly - not questioned or doubted; accepted as true.

    These words look interchangeable to me.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Doubtless conveys a great deal of uncertainty to me, as does no doubt.
    Only undoubtedly expresses absence of doubt - I overstate a little for effect.
    (Based on New Fowler's Modern English Usage)

    Interesting that this distinction is apparent (to me) in the examples you chose:)
     

    nycphotography

    Senior Member
    American English
    Eugens said:
    Whatever he says he'll doubtless be criticised by the media.
    It is a superb film and undoubtedly one of the best he has made.
    Doubtless: you have no doubt
    Undoubtedly: NOBODY should (in YOUR opinion) have any doubt.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Eugens said:
    Whatever he says he'll doubtless be criticised by the media.
    It is a superb film and undoubtedly one of the best he has made.
    I understand that Eugens is fairly sure he will be criticised by the media, but not certain - there is actually considerable doubt.
    But he has no doubts about the film being one of the best.
     
    Whatever he says he'll doubtless be criticised by the media.
    It is a superb film and undoubtedly one of the best he has made.
    Thank you!

    John: It is a superb film and undoubtedly one of the best he has made.

    No doubt about it. Unquestionably one of the best.


    John: You will doubtless be going to see this superb film?

    There is a great element of doubt here. John has no idea as to whether or not I shall be going to see the film. Just because he thought it was superb it doesn't follow that I'll feel the same. It could well be dealing with a subject in which I have no interest, such as cocaine smuggling.


    LRV
     

    nycphotography

    Senior Member
    American English
    Hmmmm.

    I suspect that you are doubltless mistaking sarcastic inflection with the definition of doubtless.

    None of my dictionaries give "not bloody likely" as a definition for doubless.
     
    nycphotography said:
    Hmmmm.

    I suspect that you are doubltless mistaking sarcastic inflection with the definition of doubtless.

    None of my dictionaries give "not bloody likely" as a definition for doubless.

    What on earth do you mean NYCP?

    Where's the sarcasm in my clear definition?

    Where do I say,or infer, 'Not bloody likely'?


    Attacks, because you disagree, shouldn't be made in the forum. You should have ignored me or sent me a PM.

    I reserve the right to respond to your attack publicly. Hopefully a moderator will delete both our posts as they are not helping Eugens.
     

    river

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    I must say I'm a little confused. I use "doubtless" to indicate lack of doubt in what is being said.

    Doubtless his disciples followed him. [I have no doubt that they did so.]
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    La Reine Victoria's comment here:
    la Reine Victoria said:
    John: You will doubtless be going to see this superb film?
    There is a great element of doubt here.
    bears a strong resemblance to panjandrum's, here:
    panjandrum said:
    Doubtless conveys a great deal of uncertainty to me, as does no doubt.
    Neither of them went so far as to say
    nycphotography said:
    "not bl**dy likely"
    Please keep in mind that bl**dy is a stronger expletive than Americans expect it to be, and it can be offensive.

    Perhaps we are finding another BE/AE difference....
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Doubtless LRV and NYCP have exchanged acronyms rather than acrimony, and are friendly as ever. Let's see....LRP and NYCV?
    No doubt Maxiogee could find something appropriate.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    LR V-

    If you guys will send a bunch of Redcoats over and burn the capitol again, all may be forgiven. In return, we will doubtlessly repopulate Parliament with Congressmen, and
    without a doubt W will assume the role formerly occupied by
    his namesake, Georgie threesticks.
     

    nycphotography

    Senior Member
    American English
    Wha??? Attack???

    LRV, UM, I would apologize, but I'm not sure what I'm apologizing for. No attack was intended, as I hope has become clear.

    Am I still in trouble??? <insert innocent look icon>
     
    nycphotography said:
    Wha??? Attack???

    LRV, UM, I would apologize, but I'm not sure what I'm apologizing for. No attack was intended, as I hope has become clear.

    Am I still in trouble??? <insert innocent look icon>
    Originally Posted by nycphotography
    Hmmmm.

    I suspect that you are doubltless mistaking sarcastic inflection with the definition of doubtless.

    None of my dictionaries give "not bloody likely" as a definition for doubless.
    Well NYCP, I still love you.:)

    Let me explain that my post had no hint of 'sarcastic inflection', nor did I infer that 'not bloody likely' was my definition of 'doubtless'.

    Call me over-sensitive if it makes you happy.

    Time for kissy-face! Have a token as well.


    La Reine V
     

    Eugens

    Senior Member
    Argentina Spanish
    Thank you all for your help!
    I understand that Eugens is fairly sure he will be criticised by the media, but not certain - there is actually considerable doubt.
    But he has no doubts about the film being one of the best.
    Panj, I'm a she and I'm not the author of those sentences - but well, doubtless that doesn't matter:p
    Thanks again!
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Can I intervene and try to explain how I interpreted the exchange between NYC and LRV (which I think consisted of a misunderstanding)?

    I don't think NYC meant to say that you, LRV, were being sarcastic, but rather that the example you gave

    la reine victoria said:
    John: You will doubtless be going to see this superb film?
    could have suggested some sarcasm on the part of John - that is, that John was using "doubtless" sarcastically; he could have said "undoubtedly" and would have meant the same thing (sarcastically). I presume that NYC based his response on the idea that John suspects that the film will not be of interest to you, based on your follow-up explaining that it could be about cocaine smuggling. I believe that's what led him to assume that you were suggesting "not very likely" as a (sarcastic) definition.

    Where I feel the misunderstanding lies is that you, LRV, were being hyperbolic (the film could be completely uninteresting, but John would still say "doubtless" because to you it means "perhaps, probably.") NYC felt that "doubtless" can only be used in such situations when the meaning is clearly sarcastic.

    Now, if I'm completely off the mark, please ignore my comments above. :)

    ...on a related note, I do hear the distinction between "doubtless" and "undoubtedly," in that the latter is stronger. However, I maintain that in some situations "doubtless" could mean "undoubtedly," depending on the context.
     
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