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Old 10-28-2004, 03:22 PM
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Inarguably vs. arguably

While I pride myself on my fairly strong vocabulary, and ability to express myself (when I've had coffee), the two words in the thread title always give me pause. Actually, they give me full stop. I can never figure out which one expresses what it is I want to say. Even looking at the dictionary doesn't really clear it up for me. For example, M-W.com says:

Arguably: : it can be argued <the word is arguably useful> <arguably the busiest airport in the world>

Inarguably: : it cannot be argued <inarguably, December is the best month for retailers>

OK, so what does that tell me? I'm thinking that if I insert the word "against" after "argued" that I will have my answer:

"It cannot be argued [against]: December is the best month for retailers."

Am I right? Does arguably mean "well you could probably convincingly argue against what I'm about to say"? If so, what's the point of the word in the first place? Why would you make a statement that you're prefacing with the disclaimer "Well, I'm sure I'm pretty wrong about this, but I'm gonna say it anyway"?

I see this fairly often, but I get the impression I'm not the only one who is confused about it, because the usages I've seen could easily have meant one or the other.
#2
Old 10-28-2004, 03:40 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: KCMO
Posts: 11,122
Inarguably = definitely, not challengeable.

Arguably = a convincving argument can be made for (not against) the allegation, though it's not provable.

Examples: The Beatles inarguably affected the direction of popular music. They are arguably the most creative band to date.

The words are not opposites. They convey different degrees of certainty.
#3
Old 10-28-2004, 03:41 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TellMeI'mNotCrazy
Am I right? Does arguably mean "well you could probably convincingly argue against what I'm about to say"?
No, it means "I can make a good case that what I'm saying is true."
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