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    • Join Date: Oct 2007
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    #1

    how to distinguish between refuse and decline in usage?

    Could any teacher here let me know how to distinguish between refuse and decline in usage?
    Hedeclined to discuss any other cabinet appointments saying they will be made at the appropriate time.
    Could I replace declined by refused in this sentence?
    Why and why not grammatically?

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    #2

    Smile Re: how to distinguish between refuse and decline in usage?

    Quote Originally Posted by notatall View Post
    Could any teacher here let me know how to distinguish between refuse and decline in usage?
    Hedeclined to discuss any other cabinet appointments saying they will be made at the appropriate time.
    Could I replace declined by refused in this sentence?
    Why and why not grammatically?
    Yes, you could replace "declined" with "refused" and the sentence would still be correct. However, there is a very subtle difference in the meaning. "Refused" implies a direct, and possibly blunt, response to a question from another person (probably a news reporter in this case). "Declined" is very slightly politer. Also, there is a slight air to it which indicates that the person is already aware of some details, but is not willing to give them at this time.

    "Refused" can also mean the person is aware of something, too.

    Example for your phrase:

    "Minister X declined to comment on the affair. He stated: 'More information will be forthcoming shortly.'"

    "Minister X refused to comment on the affair. He stated: 'I will not remark on such a silly issue.'"

    All of it is interchangeable to some extent. The differences are not only in manner of speaking, but also in the interpretation of the listener.

    Good luck!

  2. #3

    Re: how to distinguish between refuse and decline in usage?

    Quote Originally Posted by notatall View Post
    Could any teacher here let me know how to distinguish between refuse and decline in usage?
    Hedeclined to discuss any other cabinet appointments saying they will be made at the appropriate time.
    Could I replace declined by refused in this sentence?
    Why and why not grammatically?
    Yes, you could replace it with 'refused', however politicians tend to decline things (which sounds more polite) than to categorically refuse them. Typically, we read in newspapers that 'he declined to comment'.

    We can say that to 'decline something' is less categorical than to 'refuse' that same thing. He declined to resign and so he was fired' amounts to the same thing as 'he refused to resign....'. However, he declined dinner with us' does not translate to 'he refused to eat dinner with us'.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 301
    #4

    Re: how to distinguish between refuse and decline in usage?

    Sorry for changing the subject.

    there is a slight air to it ...
    Is this an Idiom or expression?
    What's the meaning of it?
    Is it common to use or just some people in special occasions would use it?

    Many thanks in advance.

  3. #5

    Re: how to distinguish between refuse and decline in usage?

    Quote Originally Posted by atlaisha View Post
    Sorry for changing the subject.



    Is this an Idiom or expression?
    What's the meaning of it?
    Is it common to use or just some people in special occasions would use it?

    Many thanks in advance.
    It's an expression, here meaning, 'there's a slight suggestion that......'. It's common to educated people. It can mean a feeling, as in 'an air of mystery hung over the place' or it can refer to appearances as in, 'he puts on airs and graces', (he tries to show off).

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