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What is the difference between to allege and to claim? Can I use them interchangeably? Or perhaps I can only allege something illegal?

For example, from CNET:

Over the past several months, the two companies have been embroiled in litigation in which Apple alleges that Samsung illegally copied technology and design aspects of the iPad to create the Galaxy Tab.

If I replace alleges with claims, does it change the meaning at all?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Alleges means:

to state something as a fact but without giving proof

It is very similar to claims, but it is used in situations where there is a legal accusation which has not yet been resolved. For example, Apple here alleges Samsung copied technology. This may or may not be true, but in any case it is a legal claim.

You could use claims, but it wouldn't have the same connotations.

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6  
Agreed, an allegation implies some kind of accusation, whereas a claim is just a statement of (unproven) fact. –  Joel Brown Sep 14 '11 at 0:02
    
Does such an accusation have to be a legal one? –  netvope Sep 14 '11 at 20:00
    
@netvope no, but that's how I've heard it used most often –  simchona Sep 14 '11 at 21:17

The only difference is one of diction. "Alleges" is in a much higher register than "claims." "Alleges" is also preferred in legal contexts.

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Allege is used when no evidence is available so it is not sure or accurate yet. It is a statement that is made without giving proof, accusing somebody of doing something that is wrong or illegal.

Claim is used when evidence is available and it is sure and true.

the two words are not the same and cannot be used interchangeably.

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What make you think that to claim is used when evidence is available. This dictionary definition disagrees with you, and so do I –  Lucky Apr 27 at 11:30
    
Thanks Lucky for the comment which I do respect highly but we are not talking here about "Dictionary Definitions" otherwise the question is not required. I do believe strongly in what I wrote from Commercial & Legal perspectives not only word meaning from language perspective. –  Yahya May 4 at 8:00

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