I was looking at the verb form from the word "Zweifel" and I found 3 different words:
It probably is subtle, but could someone explain me the difference between them, and where I can and can not use them in context?
There are indeed very subtle differences in both meaning and usage.
Something that hasn't been mentioned here before: you can use
would be possible to say and is as general as
You can also use
In all these examples you could not use
(example taken from the Duden)
For the differences in meaning I think it's worthwhile pointing out the difference between
This would rather mean
would rather stress the point that nobody said he/she had doubts. (To use
In cases where both
These words are indeed very closely related and can be used synonymously in most cases.
All of the above express that I doubt the correctness of this statement.
There is no significant difference af meaning between the three that I'm aware of.
In some situations, one of them might be a bit more idiomatic than the others. The following examples might be from some newspaper article:
This is basically implies that the representative (openly/publicly) attacked the party head by expressing doubts about his ability to lead. You wouldn't use bezweifeln to express that. You could, however, also use Zweifel as a noun:
… which has the same meaning, but might sound a bit less aggressive.
… would not necessarily require that he actually said anything. This could just be an assumption on the part of a commentator, based on other statements/observations.
Bezweifeln is more often used in direct speech:
In spoken language
is more common than
…, although both versions mean the same, i.e. "I doubt it/that".
Firstly, there are differences in grammar. "Anzweifeln" and "bezweifeln" can both take a direct object, while "zweifeln" connects with an object using the preposition "an" (which is likely where "anzweifeln comes from :)
As far as meaning goes, I'd say that "anzweifeln" is the weakest doubting. The an-prefix gives it a bit of the notion of starting to doubt, though that's not always the intended meaning. "Zweifeln" is a bit stronger and "bezweifeln" is pretty solid doubting work.