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i've learnt a lot from reading posts here.
Many thanks to those who contribute to this English forums.

I have constantly been asked if there's any semantic difference among
"suspect", "doubt" and "wonder"? Say, the three sentences as follows:

a. She suspects that he is good or evil.
b. She doubts that he is good or evil.
c. She wonders if he is good or evil.

Could anyone tell me which sentence you think is the most appropriate?
Would it connote some certain degree/level of dubitation in oral English?
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Hi, runner!

These words all have totally different meanings....I'll give you the meanings first and then tackle the sentences themselves.

1.) "suspect" = To surmise to be true or probable; imagine: I suspect they are very disappointed.

2.) "doubt" = To be undecided or skeptical about: began to doubt some accepted doctrines.

3.) "wonder" = To be filled with curiosity or doubt.

So, taking the sentences now...

1.) This sentence doesn't make sense...A person is either good or evil (ignoring the philosophical debate that could easily ensue based on that statement), so it doesn't make sense to suspect that. It's like saying, "I suspect that person is a man or a woman." Well, that's obvious. If you suspect something, it has to be that a certain condition exists, not that anything could be the case...so, it should be, "She suspects that he is good." OR "She suspects that he is evil." But she can't suspect both at the same time. It just doesn't make sense.

2.) The exact same thing applies here becase doubt is almost the exact opposite of suspect. "She doubts that he is good." OR "She doubts that he is evil." She can't doubt both.

3.) This makes good sense. She doesn't know if he is good or evil, so she wonders about it.

I hope this helps!!!
Hi, haoqide

Is there any overlapping cases in 'suspect' and 'doubt'?

For example,
I'm sorry that I suspected you.
I'm sorry that I doubted you.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
not really...In order for there to be any overlap at all, you'd have to qualify the statements with something else...For example...

"I'm sorry that I suspected you were the one causing the problems."

"I'm sorry that I doubted you when you said you weren't the one causing the problems."

Other than that, I can't think of any overlapping situations.

If you suspect someone, you think something about them. If you doubt someone, you don't think they're capable of something...so the two sentences really have totally different meanings.
Many thanks, my friend.[F]
Many welcomes! Emotion: smile You've always got good questions! Keep it up!
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