Saturday, August 02, 2014

It's almost always 'rebut,' not 'refute'

The State newspaper in Columbia has suddenly, in recent months, seemed to get tangled up about "rebut" versus "refute." Maybe they don't go over this at the editing hub up north or whatever.

Tonight's entry:

Unless you're taking the PGA's side in this, the word is "rebuts" -- or, even better, "denies," which is the word used in the story's lede.

"Refutes" implies that you've taken sides and decided that one party has essentially proved its argument.

It's not an inconsequential nuance, especially in headline type, for professional writers and editors who are supposed to know better.

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At 8/2/14, 9:13 AM, Anonymous Andy Bechtel said...

The Raleigh newspaper used the same verb in the headline on that story today. I agree that it's an important distinction.


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