How do we express doubts in Spanish? (B1)

ID-10036077Many of our students ask us about the way Spaniards express doubts, so today we’ll teach you how to do it. It’s very easy: if a fact is doubted its main verb should be in the subjunctive mood; otherwise, expressions of doubt are stated in Spanish similarly to how they are in English. Let’s take a look!


The most common way of expressing doubts is by using the verb dudar (to doubt). When a statement of fact is being doubted, dudar sometimes is followed by que (de que is a very common regional variation): “Dudo que venga” and “Dudo DE que venga” are both correct.

Dudo que mi hermano sepa cuándo llegan mis padres = I doubt my brother knows when my parents are coming (as you can see, the main verb, “sepa”, is in the subjunctive mood).

Mi madre dudaba de que pudiera (yo) hacerlo = My mom doubted that I could do it.

Al principio, mi marido lo dudaba un poco = At first, my husband doubted it a little.

Dudo (yo) que llegue (él) a tiempo = I doubt he arrives on time.

Dudo que los Steeler ganen la Superbowl otra vez = I doubt the Steelers are going to win the Superbowl again.

Dudo que Carmen pueda hacerlo = I doubt Carmen might be able to do it.

Dudaba que Elena pudiera hacerlo = I doubted Elena would be able to do it.

If you are negating dudar as a way of expressing certainty, you can sometimes use the indicative mood although we normally use the subjunctive mood. Let’s see some examples:

No dudo que seas listo = I don’t doubt you are smart. SUBJUNCTIVE (seas)

– No dudaban de que fuéramos al cine = They didn’t doubt we went to the movies. SUBJUNCTIVE (fuéramos).

Nunca dudé que iba a ser (yo) pintora = I never doubted I was going to be a painter. INDICATIVE (iba a ser).

We also use the expresión “tener dudas” (o “tener duda”), which means “to have doubts”:

Tengo dudas de que Patricia fuera a la fiesta = I have doubts that Patricia went to the party.

Ana y Miguel tienen dudas sobre el diagnóstico de su hija = Ana y Miguel have doubts regarding the diagnosis of their daughter.

We can also use impersonal expressions that are the equivalent of English statements such as “it is unlikely that” or “it is doubtful that”:

Es improbable que se descubra una cura universal para el cáncer = It is unlikely that they’ll find a universal cure for cancer.

Hay dudas de que Mariano Rajoy gane las elecciones en España = There are doubts that Mariano Rajoy wins the elections in Spain.

Es posible que nieve mañana = It’s possible that it will snow tomorrow.

If you have doubts (si tienes dudas) about Spanish language, don’t worry! Request a free trial class (20 minutes) and we will clarify them for you. Our Spanish classes are effective, suitable and fun!

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