I wonder what exactly the expression "make an argument" means on this phrase: "Machiavelli makes the argument that in a strictly military sense a fortress is invariably a mistake."

I'm not sure if it is a idiomatic expression. Does it mean that Machiavelli advocates that this point is a mistake, or that he does not advocate this idea?

  • i'm talking about the whole expression: "make an argument". I thought it would be an idiomatic expression (different meaning from his literal translation), in which case a dictionary couldn't help me. Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 17:47
  • I don't see that it's idiomatic. "Make an argument" simply means "argue (for) something". If the person arguing does not advocate an idea, then you would explicitly say "make an argument against something", but in this it's no different from "to argue". Machiavelli argues that in the strictly military sense a fortress is a mistake.
    – Andrew
    Commented Feb 11, 2018 at 4:46

1 Answer 1


In this context "makes an argument" means exactly the same as "puts a case": he presents the reasons why he thinks that a fortress is a mistake when considered in a simply military sense.

It does not imply that there is a disagreement with any particular person.


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