Is the phrase "they argue different views" acceptable?

When I google the phrase "argue a view" with quotations, I found relatively small number of results and some of them had a clause after "view" (e.g. They argue the view is not correct.), which I believe to be a correct usage.

But at the same time, I did find a phrase Can you argue a view that is not your own?, where the verb "argue" takes "view" as its object.

So, my question is "is it ungrammatical/semantically unacceptable/very uncommon for the verb to argue to take view as its object, or is it totally fine?"

2 Answers 2


Let me first parse your examples.

Ex. 1. They argue different views.

They is the subject, argue is the verb, and views is the direct object.

Ex. 2. They argue the view is not correct.

They is the subject, argue is the verb, and the noun clause [that] the view is not correct is the direct object. The word that is implied (this is fairly standard usage, see here).

Here is the OED entry [online version, sorry if you do not have access] with some entries truncated.

(1) to make good an accusation against, prove wrong or guilty.

(2) trans. to accuse, impeach, arraign.

(3) to prove or evince; to afford good ground for inferring.

(4) intr. to bring forward reasons concerning a matter in debate.

(5) to discuss the pros and cons of.

(6) with subord. clause. to maintain, by adducing reasons, the proposition or opinion that.

(7) to bring forward as a reason (for or against).

(8) to argue (a thing) away, off, etc.: to get rid of by argument.

(9) to argue (a person) into or out of: to persuade him by argument into, or out of, a course of action.

Example 1 could be interpreted as definition (5), meaning "they argue about different views." However, I believe you intend "they argue for different views" instead.

Only (4) and (6) match that meaning. Because (4) is intransitive, it cannot take a direct object, and (6) explicitly takes a subordinate clause. Example 2 is a correct use of (6), while example 1 is incorrect.

TLDR: No. Use the subordinate clause that their views were correct or the prepositional phrase for views.


Well, a google search of the phrase "argue views" came up with only 1,920 hits, most of them being news articles, so I don't believe it is ungrammatical to use views as the object of argue, it does seem a bit uncommon though.

And, to verify that conclusion, I typed "Can they argue views that are not their own?" "They argue the view that is not correct." and "They argue different views" into an online spell-checker, and all entries produced no grammatical commentary and received a grammar score of 100%. (http://spellcheckplus.com/)

So, no, there is nothing ungrammatical or semantically unacceptable about "argue" taking view as its object.

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