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Difference between Argument and Discussion

Argument and Discussion

What is the difference between an argument and a discussion? Both are nouns that involve people talking with one another and telling what they think, feel or know to be true. The difference in these words lies in the usage and the connotation, or shade of meaning, behind each word.

An argument can mean a statement or series of statements for or against something. This is a more of a legal definition. It is used in a court of law to give proof and to persuade or in a formal debate. For example: The attorney faced the jury for his closing arguments. However, in most cases, the word ‘argument’ is used to mean something less formal. ‘Argument’ generally means an angry dispute or disagreement. Although by the definition it does not have to be a loud quarrel, in common usage it usually brings with it the idea of two or more people yelling or raising their voices to give their opinions. For example: The husband and wife had a loud argument over who should get to use the car. Other forms of ‘argument’ are the verb, ‘argue’, ‘argumentative’ and ‘arguably’.

‘Discussion’ has a much more positive feel to it. The definition is similar to ‘argument’ because it involves presenting ideas, information or opinions. However, the usage of the word ‘discussion’ between two or more people is not an angry or heated situation. It means talking in a conversational and reasonable manner with other people. For example: The husband and wife sat down and had a discussion about who was going to use the new car. ‘Discussion’ also does not have the same legal or technical usage in a court. A discussion is usually an informal and friendly situation where two or more people share and listen to the ideas or opinions of each other. For example: There was a discussion in the office about what to order for lunch.

When using a noun to give a clearer meaning to a type of conversation, whether ‘argument’ or ‘discussion’ is used depends on the situation. If the talk is of an angry tone with the parties being upset with each other or not willing to listen to each other’s view point, it is an argument. However, if the tone is more polite or rational and reasonable, it may be called a discussion. If the conversation is a formal or legal one, lines of reasoning or proof to state a case or side are called arguments. Knowing these differences between ‘argument’ and ‘discussion’ is important to give the correct meaning.

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