Wrong Word Wednesday #1

I’m gradually trying to make this blog a resource and information point for writers, and I’ve been playing around with an idea for some time (I get those a lot don’t I?) A while ago, I thought I post a list of the most common examples of where we use the wrong word in the English language. However, I think this will work better as a regular feature of short posts.

So welcome to Wrong Word Wednesday. If I’m honest, it takes small inspiration from a fellow blogger Cyndi Faria who every week (on a Wednesday) brings to our attention an unusual word and gives a summary of what it means and its use. This she calls Wordy Wednesday. Go and look at her blog but don’t forget to come back afterward :-)

So the first one is…


This is one that I see in newspapers and online news sites far too often. They do not mean the same thing at all yet the word “refute” is used regularly when the writer means “dispute”.

Here is the perfect example of the sort of thing I mean. The MP for Newbury did not “refute” the claim, he “disputed” it. He contested the claim that he used that hosepipe while the ban was in place; he did not demonstrate it to be false and I doubt he could have disproved it.


Verb: Argue about (something); discuss heatedly: “I disputed the charge on the bill”; “he taught and disputed with local poets”.


Verb: To prove that a statement, theory or person is wrong. “Galileo refuted the argument that the sun goes around the Earth.”

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