It is doubtful that/if/whether or how...

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ray8838

Senior Member
Chinese
We normally say it is doubtful that / if / whether we can finish the work by tomorrow.

Can we say:

"It is doubtful how we can finish the work by tomorrow. " ?
 
  • dreamlike

    Senior Member
    Polish
    No, in this particular context, 'how' just doesn't work with 'doubtful'. Actually, I can't really think of a context in which it would, but my intuition tells me we can't rule 'doubtful + how' out.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Any more ideas?
    Basically, no. I agree with dreamlike that "doubtful + how" just doesn't work.
    If I were to say "There is doubt as to how we can finish this work by tomorrow", that might work - but that's altering the grammatical structure of the sentence quite considerably from the one you were trying to use.;)
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Any ideas?
    Not really, no. In the absence of any examples in the dictionary you've quoted, I'd avoid trying to use "how" with "it is doubtful". None of us have been able to come up with a context in which it would sound idiomatic.:(
     

    ray8838

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Not really, no. In the absence of any examples in the dictionary you've quoted, I'd avoid trying to use "how" with "it is doubtful". None of us have been able to come up with a context in which it would sound idiomatic.:(
    Thanks! That's exactly what I think.
     
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