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    #1

    refuse vs reject

    In my dictionaries and grammar books, I found the usage of the verb "refuse" as follows:

    1. refuse something, as He refused the gift/invitation, etc.
    2. refuse someone something, as They refused him admittance.
    3. refuse to do something, as He refused to help me.
    4. refuse doing something, as She refused revealing her identity.

    My question is, Can we simply say refuse someone?

    Today I saw the following sentences from a college textbook:

    "Hera asked Zeus to give her the cow as a gift. Of course, Zeus could not refuse his wife."
    Is it correct to say "refuse his wife"? Is it more appropriate to say "reject his wife" or "turn his wife down"?

    Thank you very much.

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    #2

    Re: refuse vs reject

    NOT A TEACHER

    I think that "to reject" has more to do with "to disagree". And "to refuse" with "not to do something".

    Why does Hera want that freaky cow? That would be my question.

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    #3

    Re: refuse vs reject

    Quote Originally Posted by maoyueh View Post

    "Hera asked Zeus to give her the cow as a gift. Of course, Zeus could not refuse his wife."
    Is it correct to say "refuse his wife"? Is it more appropriate to say "reject his wife" or "turn his wife down"?

    Thank you very much.
    Yes, "refuse his wife" is correct.
    No, "reject his wife" is not right in this case. By rejecting her request, he would not be rejecting her. This is different from "refuse", where "refuse his wife" does mean "refuse her request."
    "Down her down" is not quite appropriate. If Zeus offered his wife a cow, she could "turn him down", ie. not accept the gift. You generally turn down an offer, not a request.

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