skeptical vs. doubtful

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  • liliput

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    They can be the same, i.e. having doubts, or they can be different. Sceptical (UK spelling) could mean "not easily convinced" and doubtful could mean "not known with certainty". As Loob says, context is needed.
     

    Bridget.Qiao

    Member
    Chinese-Mandarin
    Guys, I'm sorry for not giving the context or background since I was checking the dictionary about these two words but still not sure which word should be used if I just want to say I disbelieving something.
     

    MichaelW

    Senior Member
    English (British)
    They can have the same meaning (having doubt) but "sceptical" has a more active and analytical implication, while "doubtful" can mean something more like "uncertain".

    A sceptic is someone who actively doubts the claims of a religion, a health product, and so on. For instance...

    I am sceptical of the claims that macrobiotic yoghurt has any positive effects on health implies I have looked into the claims and think they are probably false.

    I am doubtful of the claims that macrobiotic yoghurt has any positive effects on health implies I am just not sure that yoghurt has any health benefits.
     
    Last edited:

    Bridget.Qiao

    Member
    Chinese-Mandarin
    They can have the same meaning (having doubt) but "sceptical" has a more active and analytical implication, while "doubtful" can mean something more like "uncertain".

    A sceptic is someone who actively doubts the claims of a religion, a health product, and so on. For instance...

    I am sceptical of the claims that macrobiotic yoghurt has any positive effects on health implies I have looked into the claims and think they are false.

    I am doubtful of the claims that macrobiotic yoghurt has any positive effects on health implies I am just not sure that yoghurt has any health benefits.
    I see, thanks.
     
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