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Which option fits best for the following sentence?

I utterly ..... your argument. In my opinion you have distorted the facts.

  1. confound
  2. dispute
  3. decline
  4. refute

For me, decline or refute may work but I cannot find any proper sentence used with them on the Internet.

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  • I'd go with dispute. Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 20:15
  • It would really help if you told us where this came from. Is it a practice exam question? If so, what is it testing? Vocabulary?
    – J.R.
    Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 20:36
  • It is a practice exam question for proficiency
    – ELL
    Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 20:40
  • 1
    @ELL - Did the practice exam indicate which answer was the "correct" one?
    – J.R.
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 10:02

1 Answer 1

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None really fits. I would use "reject". The most correct of your four options is probably "confound", but the only one which sounds good is "refute", which means something a little different to what you want.


I utterly refute your argument, as follows.

This means "I show your argument to be completely false, and this is how." It should be followed by reasons, though. "I utterly refute your argument" means "I prove it is false", but "in my opinion, you have distorted the facts" is not a proof.

This would be fine, though, if after this sentence came a proof that the argument was incorrect.


* I utterly decline your argument.

This isn't correct: I can "decline to accept" an argument, but I can't just "decline" it.


* I utterly dispute your argument.

I can dispute an argument, but I can't "utterly" dispute it. It would be like saying "I utterly eat this apple".


I utterly confound your argument.

"Confound" is here used as meaning 1.2 in the Oxford English. It's a weird usage, and I (as a native English speaker) would be taken a little aback by it. However, I think it's just about correct.

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  • "Decline" is a polite form of the word "reject." There is no requirement to append "to accept" to it: "I declined the coffee" "On reflection I think I will decline your generous offer." etc etc.
    – Yorik
    Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 21:47
  • Yes, "I decline your offer" is certainly fine, but "I decline your argument" sounds so strange that I would probably ask for clarification if someone said it to me without context. Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 8:59

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