Thursday, 9 August 2012

Tell Me, Do You Doubt That It Is All Sorted Out?

Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or a colleague. You are talking about recent problems/ difficulties you have had. Maybe you have taken some action, but you really doubt whether it will have the desired effect. On realising that, the other person may say to you something like: "tell me, do you doubt that it is all sorted out?".

In Spanish, he/ she could choose to be less formal and say to you:
Dime, ¿dudas que esté todo resuelto?

On the other hand, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say to you:
Dígame, ¿duda (usted) que esté todo resuelto?

The question is an invitation for you to say how doubtful you are about something. When saying that you are doubtful about something like this, you DO NOT need to be concerned about the level of formality in the other person's question. Your main concern should be about communicating your doubts. Perhaps you want express your doubts as:
  • Doubts about yourself/ your own actions;
  • Doubts about anything else (others/ their actions/ etc.);

Here are some examples of how you could reply:
  • Dudo poder resolverlo todo a solas (I doubt I can sort it all out on my own);
  • Dudo poder hacerlo todo a tiempo (I doubt I will be able to do everything before it is too late);
  • Dudo que se pueda resolver sin ayuda* (I doubt it can be sort it out without help);
  • Dudo que mi familia acepte la solución* (I doubt my family will accept the solution);
  • Dudo que el proveedor se avenga a cambiar las condiciones de pago* (I doubt the supplier will agree to change the payment terms);
  • No dudo que tengamos que esforzarnos todos un poco más* (I don't doubt we will all have to make a bigger effort);
Now you should practise further replying to someone who says to you:
Dime, ¿dudas que esté todo resuelto?

*Please see grammar below

Please note these are typical examples of the use of subjunctive mood. As a general rule, the subjunctive mood should be used when expressing doubt, as in:
  • "I doubt/ don't doubt something {has happened/ is happening/ will happen}”
  • "I doubt/ don't doubt something {has been/ is/ will be} in a particular way”
  • "I doubt/ don't doubt someone – other than I {has done/ is doing/ will do} something”
  • "I doubt/ don't doubt someone – other than I {has been/ is/ will be} in a particular way”

In order to express this in Spanish, you could use:
  • "dudo que <subjuntivo>..."
  • "no dudo que <subjuntivo>..."

An example of this is the reply above:
  • "dudo que se pueda resolver sin ayuda".

Some other examples of expressions of this type in Spanish are:
  • No dudo que vaya a llover (I don't doubt it will rain);
  • Dudo que me hayas contado mentiras (I doubt you have told me lies);
  • Dudo que Pedro me llame (I doubt Pedro will call me);
  • Dudo que vayamos a poder viajar juntos (I doubt we will be able to travel together);
  • No dudo que queráis eso (I don't doubt you want that)
  • Dudo que Pedro y María estén bien (I doubt Pedro and María are well);

Now you should practise this use of the subjunctive with some more sentences of your own

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