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Cake Wars is a game where fifteen participants are given sixty minutes to decorate a cake to a theme, after which the finished cakes are rated.

If the finished cakes are rated by the game's participants, then can I change "rated" to "contested" and is it better to do so?

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    Note about the title: "Substitute [X] for [Y]" means "replace [Y] with [X]," not the other way around.
    – Kevin
    Nov 8, 2020 at 0:07
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    Did you even look up the word "contested"? If so, what about the definition left you confused about whether or not it works in this case?
    – Kat
    Nov 8, 2020 at 1:30

2 Answers 2

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"Contested" means to be disputed and ultimately challenged, so I would not use that word there. The game itself is a contest, however, so you could incorporate that word instead:

Cake Wars is a contest between fifteen bakers who are given sixty minutes and a theme to make a cake.

The use of the word "contest" affords us the opportunity to shorthand this a bit and omit obvious things like scoring the cakes and awarding a winner which are part and parcel of contests.

To better understand how "contested" would be used, consider this:

The results of the game were contested by Michael, who felt the winner did not play by the rules.

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No. The word has a different meaning, and you should check the dictionary for the meaning of the adjective "contested", or the related verb "(to) contest".

If I "rate" a cake, then I judge how good, or bad, it is.

If I "contest" a cake... it doesn't have a normal meaning: Either I question it's correctness (??) "I contested my teacher's rule banning red socks"... That doesn't make sense.... or I strive to maintain control of the cake. That just about makes sense: "The twins were contesting the birthday cake, each claiming that to have the right to a larger slice".

In your context, it doesn't make sense at all. "To contest" never means "to rate".

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