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When using "confess" or "admit", the following word usually means something bad or something that the speaker is reluctant to say.

I wonder if it is proper to use a word which means something good after "confess" or "admit"? For example

I failed, but I confess/admit that I have tried my best.

Are there better verbs than "confess" or "admit" in such cases?

Thanks and regards!

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I failed, but I must say I tried my best. –  FumbleFingers May 27 '12 at 2:15
    
I must say works, as does I will say, or even let me say. Or, with a little resturcturing, you can get away with no verb at all: "Even though I failed, I tried my best," or "I failed, but I did try my best." –  J.R. May 27 '12 at 9:49
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1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

One thing to note is that while both words can have negative connotations, "admit" carries much less negativity. Confess is described in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as "to tell or make known (as something wrong or damaging to oneself)," and even carries religious connotation, where one "[acknowledges] (sin) to God or to a priest." "Admit," on the other hand, is only described to "allow scope for" or "to concede as true or valid," so using the word "admit" may not be too bad.

There are better words though. For example:

  • Confirm: "to establish the truth, accuracy, validity, or genuineness of,"
    • "I failed, but I can confirm that I've tried my best." (Somewhat technical)
  • Attest: "certify; declare to be correct, true, or genuine,"
    • "I failed, I can attest to trying my best."
  • Assert: "to state with assurance, confidence, or force."
    • "I failed, but I assert that I've tried my best."
  • Acknowledge: "to admit to be real or true; recognize the existence, truth, or fact of"
    • "I failed, but I will acknowledge I've tried my best."

I would go with "confirm," personally, but they're all fine.

Hope this helps!

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The definitions of the four words are from Dictionary.com, just to say. –  Zolani13 May 27 '12 at 3:45
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Good candidates! I'd like to add one more: "I failed, but I must insist, I tried my best." –  J.R. May 27 '12 at 9:51
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