There was a good question this week about the difference between "doubt" and "suspect". When I check my Japanese dictionary for 疑う, I see that both of these are listed. That's not so helpful, so let me explain.

"Doubt" has a negative meaning which is similar to "don't think". "Suspect" also has a negative meaning, but means "think". The key difference is the "not" hidden inside "doubt".

Over the Lunar New Year holiday, I cooked radish cakes. It looked good in the photo, but when I was trying to take it out of the pan, it broke. This piece you see on my plate is the result. Ugly, isn't it?

Lunar New Year 旧正月、春節、小正月◆中国・台湾・海外華僑の旧正月ならばChinese New Yearが良い。韓国・北朝鮮ではLunar New Year(中国の属国、植民地の歴史観から)(definition from Eijiro on the Web)

Actually, though, when I was cooking it, I thought I would have trouble. That's because even after steaming it for 90 minutes, when I stuck a chopstick in it, the chopstick didn't come out clean. At that point:

I doubted that it would turn out correctly. = I suspected that it wouldn't turn out correctly.

It's OK, though, because my second try was much better. The Lunar New Year holiday may be over, but I'm going to try again this weekend.

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