Professional Style

Rebut vs. Refute

October 2014
Spot the Error

Even though his arguments have no foundation, Cory enjoys refuting everything his brother says.

The problem with the “brotherly love” sentence above is the word refute. Cory isn’t refuting anything because refute means to prove something (or someone) to be wrong. Since his arguments have no foundation, he has no proof. Instead, Cory is rebutting. Rebut means to argue to the contrary, and Cory lives to rebut.

Remember—if you have no proof, you can’t refute.

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