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Definition of argument
- argle-bargle [ chiefly British ]
- argy-bargy [ chiefly British ]
- battle royal
Examples of argument in a Sentence
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'argument.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin argumentum , from arguere — see argue
14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 6
Phrases Containing argument
- counter - argument
- ontological argument
Articles Related to argument
Them's Fightin' Words
8 Words to describe a brawl
Dictionary Entries Near argument
Cite this entry.
“Argument.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/argument. Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.
Kids definition of argument, legal definition, legal definition of argument, more from merriam-webster on argument.
Nglish: Translation of argument for Spanish Speakers
Britannica English: Translation of argument for Arabic Speakers
Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about argument
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“Argument” in a Sentence (with Audio)
argument (n): a disagreement, or the process of disagreeing
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Choose the Right Words in an Argument
How to approach six tricky workplace scenarios.
When addressing a conflict with a colleague, the words matter. Sometimes, regardless of how good your intentions are, what you say can further upset your coworker and just make the issue worse. Other times you might say the exact thing that helps the person go from boiling mad to cool as a cucumber.
So, when things start to heat up with a colleague — you don’t see eye-to-eye on a project or you aren’t happy with the way you were treated in a meeting, for example — how can you choose your words carefully? To help answer this question, I talked with Linda Hill, the Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and faculty chair of the Leadership Initiative. She is also the co-author of Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation and Being the Boss: The 3 Imperatives for Becoming a Great Leader .
Hill explained that the words we use in confrontations can get us into trouble for three reasons:
First, the stakes are usually high when emotions are. “With conflict, there are typically negative emotions involved, and most of us aren’t comfortable with those kinds of feelings,” she says. Our discomfort can make us fumble over our words or say things we don’t mean.
The second reason that we often say the wrong thing is because our first instincts are usually off. In fact, it’s often the words we lead with that get us into so much trouble. “That’s because too often we end up framing the issue as who’s right or who’s wrong,” she says. Instead of trying to understand what’s really happening in a disagreement, we advocate for our position. Hill admits that it’s normal to be defensive and even to blame the other person, but saying “You’re wrong” or “Let me tell you how I’m right” will make matters worse. “We’re often building a case for why we’re right. Let that go and focus on trying to resolve the conflict,” she says.
Third, there’s often misalignment between what we mean when we say something and what the other person hears. “It doesn’t matter if your intent is honorable if your impact is not,” Hill says. Most people are very aware of what they meant to say but are less tuned into what the other person heard or how they interpreted it.
So how do you avoid these traps? Hill says it’s not always easy but by following a few rules of thumb, you’ll have a better chance of resolving the conflict instead of inciting it:
Say nothing. “If the emotional level is high, your first task is to take some of the emotion out,” she says. “Often that means sitting back and letting someone vent.”
The trouble is, Hill says, that we often stop people before they’ve gotten enough of the emotion out. “Hold back and let them say their piece. You don’t have to agree with it, but listen,” she says. While you’re doing this, you might be completely quiet or you might indicate you’re listening by using phrases like, “I get that” or “I understand.” Avoid saying anything that assigns feeling or blame, like “Calm down” or “What you need to understand is.” If you can do this effectively, without judging, you’ll soon be able to have a productive conversation.
Ask questions. Hill says that it’s better to ask questions than make statements. Instead of thinking about what you want to say, consider what you want to learn. This will help you get to the root cause of the conflict and set you up to resolve it. You can ask questions like, “Why did that upset you?” or “How are you seeing this situation?” Use phrases that make you appear more receptive to a genuine dialogue. Once you’ve heard the other person’s perspective, Hill suggests you paraphrase and ask, “I think you said X, did I get that right?”
Own your part . Don’t act like there is only one view of the problem at hand. “You need to own your perception. Start sentences with ‘I’ not ‘you,'” Hill says. This will help the other person see your perspective and understand that you’re not trying to blame them for the problem. Instead of saying “You must be uncomfortable”, try “I’m feeling pretty uncomfortable.” Don’t attribute emotions to other people. That just makes them mad.
So, how do you choose the right words to use in a conflict? Of course, every situation is different and what you say will depend on the content of what you’re discussing, your relationship with the other person, and the culture of your organization, but these suggestions may help you get started:
Scenario #1: You have a criticism or dissent to offer. Perhaps you disagree with the popular perspective or perhaps you’re talking to someone more powerful than you.
Hill suggests you get to the underlying reason for the initiative, policy, or approach that you’re disagreeing with. Figure out why the person thinks this is a reasonable proposal. You can say something like, “Sam, I want to understand what we’re trying to accomplish with this initiative. Can you go back and explain the reasoning behind it?” or “What are we trying to get done here?” Get Sam to talk more about what he’s up to and why. Then you can present a few options for how to accomplish the same goal using a different approach: “If I understand you correctly, you’re trying to accomplish x, y, and z. I’m wondering if there’s a different way to approach this. Perhaps we can…”
In a situation like this, you also want to consider the venue. “You may be able to have a more candid discussion with someone if it’s one-on-one meeting rather than in front of a group,” she says.
Scenario #2: You have bad news to deliver to your boss or another coworker. You missed a deadline, made a mistake, or otherwise screwed up.
Hills says the best approach here is to get to the point: “I have some news to share that I’m not proud of. I should’ve told you sooner, but here’s where we are.” Then describe the situation. If you have a few solutions, offer them up: “These are my ideas about how we might address this. What are your thoughts?” It’s important to own up that you made a mistake and not try to point out all the reasons you did what you did.
Scenario #3: You approach a coworker about something he or she messed up.
Here you don’t want to launch in right away, Hill says, but ask permission to speak to the person about what happened: “Mary, can I have a moment to talk to you about something?” Then describe what happened. You can say: “I’m a little confused about what occurred and why it occurred. I want to discuss it with you to see how we can move this forward.” Use phrases like “I understand that X happened…” so that if Mary sees the situation differently, she can disagree with your perspective. But don’t harp too long on what happened. Focus on figuring out a solution by engaging her with something like: “What can we do about this?”
Scenario #4: You approach a colleague about feeling mistreated or you’re upset about something he or she said.
Hill points out that this is a good place to talk about the difference in intent versus impact. After all, you don’t know what your coworker’s intent was; you only know that you’re upset. You can start off with something like: “Carl, It’s a little bit awkward for me to approach you about this, but I heard that you said X. I don’t know whether it’s true or not. Regardless, I thought I should come to you because I’m pretty upset and I thought we should talk about it.” The focus shouldn’t be on blaming the person but airing your feelings and trying to get to a resolution: “I want to understand what happened so that we can have a conversation about it.”
If Carl gets defensive, you can point out that you aren’t questioning his intent. “I’m not talking about what you intended. I thought it was better to clear the air, rather than stewing about it. Would you agree?”
Scenario #5: A colleague yells at you because of something you said or did .
This is where you might stay quiet at first and let them vent. People usually run out of steam pretty quickly if you don’t reciprocate. Keep in mind though, Hill says, that you never deserve to be yelled at. You might say: “I realize that I’ve done something to upset you. I don’t respond well to being yelled at. Can we sit down when I can be better prepared to have a conversation about this?”
Scenario #6: You’re managing someone who engages in conflict regularly and is annoying or upsetting the other people on your team.
Sometimes you have a hothead on your team — someone who seems to even enjoy conflict. Of course disagreements aren’t always a bad thing, but you need to help the person explore how he might be damaging his reputation and relationships. You can try something like: “I like having you around because from where I sit, you raise important issues and feel strongly about them. I also know you’re well-intentioned. I’d like to talk you about whether you’re having the impact you want to have.” Get him to think through the consequences of his regular battles.
Of course, even if you follow this advice, sometimes there just aren’t the right words and it’s not possible to have a constructive discussion. “Occasionally, you need to let it go and come back to it another time when you can both have the conversation,” says Hill. It’s OK to walk away and return to the discussion later, when you’re ready to make a smart and thoughtful choice about the words you want to use.
- Amy Gallo is a contributing editor at Harvard Business Review, cohost of the Women at Work podcast , and the author of two books: Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People) and the HBR Guide to Dealing with Conflict . She writes and speaks about workplace dynamics. Watch her TEDx talk on conflict and follow her on LinkedIn . amyegallo
Argument in a Sentence 🔊
Definition of Argument
a discussion where both sides explain their contrasting viewpoints usually with an angry tone
Examples of Argument in a sentence
Everyone in the apartment complex could hear the argument between the couple due to their loud voices and the thin walls. 🔊
Since the prosecutor had an excellent conviction record, everyone knew his argument in court would be convincing. 🔊
Without fail, Sarah and her mother-in-law were always in an argument due to their headstrong nature. 🔊
When the Democratic Congressman explained his bill, an argument ensued between him and Republican representative. 🔊
It was quite disheartening that every argument today occurred at our church over such petty things. 🔊
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- 40 Useful Words and Phrases for Top-Notch Essays
To be truly brilliant, an essay needs to utilise the right language. You could make a great point, but if it’s not intelligently articulated, you almost needn’t have bothered.
Developing the language skills to build an argument and to write persuasively is crucial if you’re to write outstanding essays every time. In this article, we’re going to equip you with the words and phrases you need to write a top-notch essay, along with examples of how to utilise them.
It’s by no means an exhaustive list, and there will often be other ways of using the words and phrases we describe that we won’t have room to include, but there should be more than enough below to help you make an instant improvement to your essay-writing skills.
This article is suitable for native English speakers and those who are learning English at Oxford Royale Academy and are just taking their first steps into essay writing.
Let’s start by looking at language for general explanations of complex points.
1. In order to
Usage: “In order to” can be used to introduce an explanation for the purpose of an argument. Example: “In order to understand X, we need first to understand Y.”
2. In other words
Usage: Use “in other words” when you want to express something in a different way (more simply), to make it easier to understand, or to emphasise or expand on a point. Example: “Frogs are amphibians. In other words, they live on the land and in the water.”
3. To put it another way
Usage: This phrase is another way of saying “in other words”, and can be used in particularly complex points, when you feel that an alternative way of wording a problem may help the reader achieve a better understanding of its significance. Example: “Plants rely on photosynthesis. To put it another way, they will die without the sun.”
4. That is to say
Usage: “That is” and “that is to say” can be used to add further detail to your explanation, or to be more precise. Example: “Whales are mammals. That is to say, they must breathe air.”
5. To that end
Usage: Use “to that end” or “to this end” in a similar way to “in order to” or “so”. Example: “Zoologists have long sought to understand how animals communicate with each other. To that end, a new study has been launched that looks at elephant sounds and their possible meanings.”
Adding additional information to support a point
Students often make the mistake of using synonyms of “and” each time they want to add further information in support of a point they’re making, or to build an argument . Here are some cleverer ways of doing this.
Usage: Employ “moreover” at the start of a sentence to add extra information in support of a point you’re making. Example: “Moreover, the results of a recent piece of research provide compelling evidence in support of…”
Usage:This is also generally used at the start of a sentence, to add extra information. Example: “Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that…”
8. What’s more
Usage: This is used in the same way as “moreover” and “furthermore”. Example: “What’s more, this isn’t the only evidence that supports this hypothesis.”
Usage: Use “likewise” when you want to talk about something that agrees with what you’ve just mentioned. Example: “Scholar A believes X. Likewise, Scholar B argues compellingly in favour of this point of view.”
Usage: Use “similarly” in the same way as “likewise”. Example: “Audiences at the time reacted with shock to Beethoven’s new work, because it was very different to what they were used to. Similarly, we have a tendency to react with surprise to the unfamiliar.”
11. Another key thing to remember
Usage: Use the phrase “another key point to remember” or “another key fact to remember” to introduce additional facts without using the word “also”. Example: “As a Romantic, Blake was a proponent of a closer relationship between humans and nature. Another key point to remember is that Blake was writing during the Industrial Revolution, which had a major impact on the world around him.”
12. As well as
Usage: Use “as well as” instead of “also” or “and”. Example: “Scholar A argued that this was due to X, as well as Y.”
13. Not only… but also
Usage: This wording is used to add an extra piece of information, often something that’s in some way more surprising or unexpected than the first piece of information. Example: “Not only did Edmund Hillary have the honour of being the first to reach the summit of Everest, but he was also appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.”
14. Coupled with
Usage: Used when considering two or more arguments at a time. Example: “Coupled with the literary evidence, the statistics paint a compelling view of…”
15. Firstly, secondly, thirdly…
Usage: This can be used to structure an argument, presenting facts clearly one after the other. Example: “There are many points in support of this view. Firstly, X. Secondly, Y. And thirdly, Z.
16. Not to mention/to say nothing of
Usage: “Not to mention” and “to say nothing of” can be used to add extra information with a bit of emphasis. Example: “The war caused unprecedented suffering to millions of people, not to mention its impact on the country’s economy.”
Words and phrases for demonstrating contrast
When you’re developing an argument, you will often need to present contrasting or opposing opinions or evidence – “it could show this, but it could also show this”, or “X says this, but Y disagrees”. This section covers words you can use instead of the “but” in these examples, to make your writing sound more intelligent and interesting.
Usage: Use “however” to introduce a point that disagrees with what you’ve just said. Example: “Scholar A thinks this. However, Scholar B reached a different conclusion.”
18. On the other hand
Usage: Usage of this phrase includes introducing a contrasting interpretation of the same piece of evidence, a different piece of evidence that suggests something else, or an opposing opinion. Example: “The historical evidence appears to suggest a clear-cut situation. On the other hand, the archaeological evidence presents a somewhat less straightforward picture of what happened that day.”
19. Having said that
Usage: Used in a similar manner to “on the other hand” or “but”. Example: “The historians are unanimous in telling us X, an agreement that suggests that this version of events must be an accurate account. Having said that, the archaeology tells a different story.”
20. By contrast/in comparison
Usage: Use “by contrast” or “in comparison” when you’re comparing and contrasting pieces of evidence. Example: “Scholar A’s opinion, then, is based on insufficient evidence. By contrast, Scholar B’s opinion seems more plausible.”
21. Then again
Usage: Use this to cast doubt on an assertion. Example: “Writer A asserts that this was the reason for what happened. Then again, it’s possible that he was being paid to say this.”
22. That said
Usage: This is used in the same way as “then again”. Example: “The evidence ostensibly appears to point to this conclusion. That said, much of the evidence is unreliable at best.”
Usage: Use this when you want to introduce a contrasting idea. Example: “Much of scholarship has focused on this evidence. Yet not everyone agrees that this is the most important aspect of the situation.”
Adding a proviso or acknowledging reservations
Sometimes, you may need to acknowledge a shortfalling in a piece of evidence, or add a proviso. Here are some ways of doing so.
24. Despite this
Usage: Use “despite this” or “in spite of this” when you want to outline a point that stands regardless of a shortfalling in the evidence. Example: “The sample size was small, but the results were important despite this.”
25. With this in mind
Usage: Use this when you want your reader to consider a point in the knowledge of something else. Example: “We’ve seen that the methods used in the 19th century study did not always live up to the rigorous standards expected in scientific research today, which makes it difficult to draw definite conclusions. With this in mind, let’s look at a more recent study to see how the results compare.”
26. Provided that
Usage: This means “on condition that”. You can also say “providing that” or just “providing” to mean the same thing. Example: “We may use this as evidence to support our argument, provided that we bear in mind the limitations of the methods used to obtain it.”
27. In view of/in light of
Usage: These phrases are used when something has shed light on something else. Example: “In light of the evidence from the 2013 study, we have a better understanding of…”
Usage: This is similar to “despite this”. Example: “The study had its limitations, but it was nonetheless groundbreaking for its day.”
Usage: This is the same as “nonetheless”. Example: “The study was flawed, but it was important nevertheless.”
Usage: This is another way of saying “nonetheless”. Example: “Notwithstanding the limitations of the methodology used, it was an important study in the development of how we view the workings of the human mind.”
Good essays always back up points with examples, but it’s going to get boring if you use the expression “for example” every time. Here are a couple of other ways of saying the same thing.
31. For instance
Example: “Some birds migrate to avoid harsher winter climates. Swallows, for instance, leave the UK in early winter and fly south…”
32. To give an illustration
Example: “To give an illustration of what I mean, let’s look at the case of…”
When you want to demonstrate that a point is particularly important, there are several ways of highlighting it as such.
Usage: Used to introduce a point that is loaded with meaning that might not be immediately apparent. Example: “Significantly, Tacitus omits to tell us the kind of gossip prevalent in Suetonius’ accounts of the same period.”
Usage: This can be used to mean “significantly” (as above), and it can also be used interchangeably with “in particular” (the example below demonstrates the first of these ways of using it). Example: “Actual figures are notably absent from Scholar A’s analysis.”
Usage: Use “importantly” interchangeably with “significantly”. Example: “Importantly, Scholar A was being employed by X when he wrote this work, and was presumably therefore under pressure to portray the situation more favourably than he perhaps might otherwise have done.”
You’ve almost made it to the end of the essay, but your work isn’t over yet. You need to end by wrapping up everything you’ve talked about, showing that you’ve considered the arguments on both sides and reached the most likely conclusion. Here are some words and phrases to help you.
36. In conclusion
Usage: Typically used to introduce the concluding paragraph or sentence of an essay, summarising what you’ve discussed in a broad overview. Example: “In conclusion, the evidence points almost exclusively to Argument A.”
37. Above all
Usage: Used to signify what you believe to be the most significant point, and the main takeaway from the essay. Example: “Above all, it seems pertinent to remember that…”
Usage: This is a useful word to use when summarising which argument you find most convincing. Example: “Scholar A’s point – that Constanze Mozart was motivated by financial gain – seems to me to be the most persuasive argument for her actions following Mozart’s death.”
Usage: Use in the same way as “persuasive” above. Example: “The most compelling argument is presented by Scholar A.”
40. All things considered
Usage: This means “taking everything into account”. Example: “All things considered, it seems reasonable to assume that…”
How many of these words and phrases will you get into your next essay? And are any of your favourite essay terms missing from our list? Let us know in the comments below, or get in touch here to find out more about courses that can help you with your essays.
At Oxford Royale Academy, we offer a number of summer school courses for young people who are keen to improve their essay writing skills. Click here to apply for one of our courses today, including law , politics , business , medicine and engineering .
One response to “40 Useful Words and Phrases for Top-Notch Essays”
Thanks in favor of sharing such a pleasant idea, post is pleasant, thats why i have read it fully
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