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The boy * his mother when he was grounded for not doing his homework.

I am pretty sure there's a word for it, but I can't remember it if there indeed is one. The above example shows how I want to use it. I am pretty sure there's a word, the closest word I can think of is "bickered", but it has a very negative connotation. I want a word that doesn't have a very negative connotation, I want the word to be as neutral as possible.

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  • Consider oppose, object, disagree. Apr 23 '19 at 17:36
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"Protest" is itself perfectly fine, as it includes the concept of counter-argument. "Object" (as a verb) is more or less the same, as is "disagree".

"Remonstrate" literally means "to say or plead in protest, objection, or disapproval", but it is something of a college-level word and not often used in casual conversation.

In more formal circumstances (such as certain courts) "dissent" is used. With courts that have multiple judges, it's common for one or more of the judges to dissent from the other judges on a case by having a different legal opinion.

"Differ" is also possible, again in more formal contexts, as in the expression, "I beg to differ!"

Other possibilities: contradict, revolt, gripe, challenge.

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  • Worth noting that most of those are not transitive (contradict and challenge being the exceptions), so they don't exactly fill the question's placeholder. We'd need "protested to his mother", for example. Jun 14 at 14:57
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Protest, object, counter, and specifically when a child objects to the demand of a parent or other adult authority, backtalk.

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  • As pointed out in a comment to the other answer the question needs a transitive verb.
    – mdewey
    Jun 14 at 16:17

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