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# Suspect and doubt

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Difference between the two? Please someone.

Rancher
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One's got 7 letters and one has five. I'll leave it to you to work out which is which.

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To doubt that something is true is to suspect that it is false. To suspect that something is false is to doubt that it is true.

Akhilesh Trivedi
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I suspect that 'which' has got five letters. But i don't know if I should suspect it or doubt it.

Joanne Neal
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Akhilesh Trivedi wrote:I suspect that 'which' has got five letters. But i don't know if I should suspect it or doubt it.

Unless you are very bad at counting, you should neither suspect it or doubt it.

Marshal
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You cannot doubt it. It is absolutely true. Look w = 1 h = 2 i = 3 c = 4 h = 5. See. 5. No doubt about it at all.

Doubt means to think something is false; suspect means to think something is true, both without definite evidence.

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Suspect is more aggressive (I suspect he did it).
Doubt is more passive (I doubt he did it).

Joanne Neal
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Doubt is more aggressive (I doubt he is innocent).
Suspect is more passive (I suspect he is innocent).

I suspect that generalisations will lead to more doubt.

whippersnapper
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Joanne Neal wrote:I suspect that generalisations will lead to more doubt.

You post that from your comfortable redoubt.

author and iconoclast
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Both can be used as a noun:

• I have a doubt
• You are a suspect

• But only one of these means something totally different depending on the dialect being spoken.

Java Cowboy
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I've noticed that many Indian people use the word "doubt" on the forums here when they mean "question".

Ernest Friedman-Hill
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Jesper de Jong wrote:I've noticed that many Indian people use the word "doubt" on the forums here when they mean "question".

Indeed, this is what I'm saying.

Bartender
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Jesper de Jong wrote:I've noticed that many Indian people use the word "doubt" on the forums here when they mean "question".

Indians never ever have doubts...only queries

lowercase baba
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:Doubt means to think something is false; suspect means to think something is true, both without definite evidence.

I suspect that is false...

I think you can say "i doubt that is true" just as easily as you'd say "I doubt that is false".

In my mind, 'doubt' is stronger - it implies some actual evidence for feeling the way you do. Suspect is more of a feeling or intuition, without any real evidence.

Joanne Neal
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I would say you use 'doubt' when you think the opposite and 'suspect' when you think the same, but don't actually have any evidence either way.

'I doubt that is true' means you think it is false.
'I suspect that is true' means you think it is true

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Maneesh Godbole wrote:

Jesper de Jong wrote:I've noticed that many Indian people use the word "doubt" on the forums here when they mean "question".

Indians never ever have doubts...only queries

Well, they very very frequently say they have doubts. But I doubt they really do. ;)

Michael Matola
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fred rosenberger wrote:

Campbell Ritchie wrote:Doubt means to think something is false; suspect means to think something is true, both without definite evidence.

I suspect that is false...

I think you can say "i doubt that is true" just as easily as you'd say "I doubt that is false".

Of course you can. Only in the first case you think truth is false, and in the second case you think false is false.

Michael Matola
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Mike Simmons wrote:Well, they very very frequently say they have doubts. But I doubt they really do. ;)

Could you prove that beyond all shadow of a doubting thomas?

(Apologies to Anthony Burgess)

Mike Okri
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fred rosenberger wrote:In my mind, 'doubt' is stronger - it implies some actual evidence for feeling the way you do. Suspect is more of a feeling or intuition, without any real evidence.

To doubt is to have suspicion without evidence. To suspect is to have doubt without evidence. If there's evidence, suspicion and doubt become fact.

Mike Simmons
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Mike Okri wrote:

fred rosenberger wrote:In my mind, 'doubt' is stronger - it implies some actual evidence for feeling the way you do. Suspect is more of a feeling or intuition, without any real evidence.

To doubt is to have suspicion without evidence. To suspect is to have doubt without evidence. If there's evidence, suspicion and doubt become fact.

I don't think so. To me, those statements would make much more sense if you replace "evidence" with "proof":

Fixed wrote:To doubt is to have suspicion without proof. To suspect is to have doubt without proof. If there's proof, suspicion and doubt become fact.

But of course, evidence is not the same thing as proof.

Mike Okri
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Mike Simmons wrote:But of course, evidence is not the same thing as proof.

Evidence is the same thing as proof. If I can provide evidence that your fingerprint is on a knife, I have proved that you touched the knife. According to wikipedia A proof is sufficient evidence or argument for the truth of a proposition. Evidence in its broadest sense includes everything that is used to determine or demonstrate the truth of an assertion. Evidence is the currency by which one fulfills the burden of proof.

Mike Simmons
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Um, no. Your wikipedia quote indicates that proof is evidence, or that everything that goes into a proof is evidence, in its broadest sense. However it does not in any way imply the converse, that all evidence is proof. Not at all. Evidence may be considered proof of something, if it's good, strong evidence. But evidence may also be weak in one way or another. It may be inconclusive, circumstantial, misunderstood, or even an outright lie. The fact that some evidence is poor evidence does not change the fact that it's evidence. But it can prevent that evidence from being considered proof of anything.

Mike Okri
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I'll repeat the wikipedia quote. Evidence is the currency by which one fulfills the burden of proof. If it does not fulfill the burden of proof, it is not evidence.

Joanne Neal
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Mike Okri wrote:Evidence is the currency by which one fulfills the burden of proof.

And dollars are the currency with which I fullfil my need for a Ferrari, but if I don't have sufficient dollars I don't get my Ferrari

Mike Okri wrote:A proof is sufficient evidence

And if you don't have sufficient evidence, you don't have proof.

Mike Okri
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Joanne Neal wrote:if you don't have sufficient evidence, you don't have proof.

Point taken. Let me rephrase. To doubt is to have suspicion without sufficient evidence. To suspect is to have doubt without sufficient evidence. If there's sufficient evidence, suspicion and doubt become fact.

Joanne Neal
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Mike Okri wrote:To doubt is to have suspicion without sufficient evidence. To suspect is to have doubt without sufficient evidence.

With all due respect, that is totally meaningless.
To have suspicion is just another way to say to suspect.
To have doubt is just another way to say to doubt.
So, basically, what you are saying is
To doubt is to suspect without sufficient evidence. To suspect is to doubt without sufficient evidence.

Mike Okri
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I don't get your point. We are both saying the same thing...To doubt is to have suspicion without sufficient evidence. To suspect is to have doubt without sufficient evidence.

Joanne Neal
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The original question was what is the difference between to doubt and to suspect, to which your answer seems to be to doubt is to suspect and to suspect is to doubt.

Mike Okri
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Yes. Like I said originally,

Mike Okri wrote:To doubt that something is true is to suspect that it is false. To suspect that something is false is to doubt that it is true.

Another way of saying this is

Mike Okri wrote:To doubt is to have suspicion without sufficient evidence. To suspect is to have doubt without sufficient evidence.

Joanne Neal
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Ignore this post

Joanne Neal
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Mike Okri wrote:Yes. Like I said originally,

Mike Okri wrote:To doubt that something is true is to suspect that it is false. To suspect that something is false is to doubt that it is true.

That's just repeating the same thing the other way round. There's no difference between those two sentences, although I do agree with what they mean.

Mike Okri wrote:Another way of saying this is

Mike Okri wrote:To doubt is to have suspicion without sufficient evidence. To suspect is to have doubt without sufficient evidence.

That is not another way of saying it. The without sufficient evidence part is implicit in the meaning of the words so can be ignored. That leaves you with

To doubt is to have suspicion. To suspect is to have doubt.

which implies you think there is no difference between the meanings of the two words, yet in your first quote you say there is a difference.

Mike Okri
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The statement To doubt is to have suspicion and to suspect is to have doubt does not differentiate between suspicion and doubt. It only emphasizes the fact that you cannot have doubt without having suspicion and vice versa.

The statement To doubt that something is true is to suspect that it is false. To suspect that something is false is to doubt that it is true differentiates between suspicion and doubt. From this statement, you can deduce the previous statement.

Joanne Neal
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Mike Okri wrote:you cannot have doubt without having suspicion and vice versa.

This is only true if you change your belief to it's exact opposite.

I doubt I'm going to convince you.
I suspect I'm not going to convince you.

Whilst the two phrases as a whole mean the same thing, what I suspect and what I doubt are total opposites.

Mike Okri wrote:To doubt that something is true is to suspect that it is false.

My point exactly. You doubt one thing, you suspect its complete opposite.

Mike Okri
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The statement you cannot have doubt without having suspicion and vice versa is always true. This is a very general statement. If you doubt something, this implies that you suspect something. You may qualify the statement further by saying that if you doubt that something is true, this implies that you suspect that it is false. Nevertheless, doubt and suspicion always occur together.

Joanne Neal
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Mike Okri wrote:The statement you cannot have doubt without having suspicion and vice versa is always true. This is a very general statement. If you doubt something, this implies that you suspect something.

If the two somethings are the same thing then that is completely wrong. You can't doubt and suspect the same thing at the same time.
If the two somethings are different things, then that statement is just meaningless.
If you still disagree then maybe giving me a concrete example would help me understand what you are trying to say.

Mike Okri
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I didn't say that you can doubt and suspect the same thing at the same time. If you doubt something, you suspect the opposite, for example if you doubt that it will rain today, this implies that you suspect that it will not rain today. The statement I made is you cannot have doubt without having suspicion and vice versa. In the above example, doubt and suspicion occur together. You cannot give me an example of doubt without suspicion or suspicion without doubt.

Joanne Neal
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Mike Okri wrote:I didn't say that you can doubt and suspect the same thing at the same time.

Well actually you did at one point (unless something is also be the opposite of something).

Mike Okri wrote:If you doubt something, this implies that you suspect something

Mike Okri wrote:You may qualify the statement further by saying that if you doubt that something is true, this implies that you suspect that it is false.

That's not qualifying the original statement - that's changing it so it makes sense. Use of vague or imprecise language when discussing semantics is never a good idea. Although as this is in the meaningless drivel forum, I guess it is appropriate.

Mike Okri
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Mike Okri wrote:If you doubt something, this implies that you suspect something

I think you misunderstood me. This statement in no way implies that you doubt and suspect the same thing. I have made no reference to same thing. The emphasis is on the fact that doubt and suspicion go together i.e. you cannot give me an example of doubt without suspicion or suspicion without doubt.

Mike Okri wrote:If you doubt that something is true, this implies that you suspect that it is false.

We've already established that this statement is correct. To qualify a statement means to clarify a statement by making it more specific. Here, I have clarified the original statement by differentiating between doubt and suspicion in specific context.

Joanne Neal
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Mike Okri wrote:I think you misunderstood me.

No I didn't. I knew what you meant. i was just making the point that the language you used was capable of being interpreted differently to what you actually meant.

Mike Okri wrote:This statement in no way implies that you doubt and suspect the same thing.

I disagree. By using the same word (something) to refer to different things, you open yourself up to the interpretation that you mean the same thing.

Mike Okri
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Joanne Neal wrote:No I didn't

You cannot say that you didn't misunderstand me when you obviously did by thinking that by something, I meant same thing. If I say Mr A ate something and Miss B ate something, it doen't necessarily mean that they've eaten the same thing. Like I said earlier, in the statement If you doubt something, this implies that you suspect something, the emphasis is on the act of doubting and act of suspecting and the fact that doubting and suspecting always go together.