Is it OK to say in that way?

She can argue her point.

For example, to say it when describing a person. Meaning she knows what she is talking about and her speech can be proved by certain facts, if required.

The reason why I'm asking is that a trustful friend of mine told me it's not ok to say in that way, but it sounds normal to me.

Thank you for replies!
Context. Speaking about person:

— How would you describe her?
— She is definitely not a chatterer, she can argue her point.

That is, she is sufficiently knowledgeable and articulate to make a logical argument (Case A is Jay's answer).

Friend's thoughts (in my translation):

Phrase is not entirely correct. According to Oxford dictionary [1], second example “exchange or express diverging or opposite views, typically in a heated or angry way” is not suitable since we don’t want to say she can argue in an angry way. In first example (“give reasons or cite evidence in support of an idea, action, or theory, typically with the aim of persuading others to share one’s view”) we have to use “argue that / argued for / argue someone into/out of.” But it’s my personal opinion. I haven’t heard natives to use argue in a meaning “to give arguments”, they rather use “to prove” / “to give arguments” / “to state your point of view” etc.

Also we have to keep in mind that dictionaries are being made with certain inaccuracy.


  1. http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/argue
  2. http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/argue

closed as general reference by Robusto, Andrew Leach, user19148, coleopterist, tchrist Sep 25 '12 at 21:57

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    Armed with that reference, you can argue your point with your 'teacher'. – Kris Sep 24 '12 at 12:16
  • 1
    What is the context (the surrounding sentences)? What alternatives are there? Did your teacher suggest any? – Mitch Sep 24 '12 at 12:17
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    I agree with @Kris. If your teacher tells you the dictionary is wrong, ask that person to cite competing sources. – Robusto Sep 24 '12 at 12:31
  • Im sorry for confusing you, the person is teacher but not mine. I thought it's not that important :) Yes im in discussion right now. wanted to gather extra proofs. – ADOConnection Sep 24 '12 at 14:12
  • Perhaps your friend has been swayed by the fact that the more usual expression is 'argue the point' (as an Ngram clearly shows); the expression 'fight his/her corner' is also rather more idiomatic. Collins and the AHDEL allow for the transitive usage of argue we're discussing here; AHDEL has: 2. To attempt to prove by reasoning; maintain or contend (though the example it offers needs changing!). However, a transitive verb doesn't take any old noun as an object - there aren't many things one can dree, for instance. She argued her point eloquently is, however, fine. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 24 '12 at 16:38

The sentence is grammatically correct. Taken with no surrounding context, it could be understood to mean that: (a) she is capable of presenting a logical train of thought. That is, she is sufficiently knowledgeable and articulate to make a logical argument. Or (b) she is permitted to present her case. For example, the people in authority do not agree with her, but they will allow her to explain her position and see if she can persuade them. (i.e. depending on how you take the word "can": does it refer to ability or permission?)

Of course the context may alter the meaning.

Has this person who says this is not a valid sentence told you why not? Does she see some grammar error in it? Find it logically flawed? Or what? It's difficult to respond to statements that "this is wrong" with no further explanation. I don't want to spend hours carefully studying the grammar and punctuation and then learn that the objection is that she thinks that the person under discussion is NOT capable of arguing her point.

  • Yes, person say it sounds not right, and suggest to say it using different words like "to prove / to give arguments / to state your point of view" etc. I don't want to blame this person, just being curious about validity of using "argue" here to improve my own skills. – ADOConnection Sep 25 '12 at 11:53

There's nothing wrong with the sentence. The only question this written version can't answer is the stress and intonation pattern. If, for example, you said it with heavy stress on can, you're saying that she's a great debater and is very good at advocating a point of view. If you said it with primary stress on argue and then followed that up with a short pause and something like But no one will pay attention to her, then you're saying either that she's a poor advocate or that those with whom she needs to argue have already made up their minds and will not be persuaded by any arguments: they're rigid and will not yield.

No context means that your question isn't well conceived. And while the sentence is perfectly grammatical and is meaningful, it's ambiguous at best. Can you rephrase the sentence so that the readers can understand exactly what it wants to say?

  • "..but no one will pay attention to her" interesting case, have'nt thought in that way. Thank you! – ADOConnection Sep 25 '12 at 11:55

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