Skip to content


December 1, 2011

I see that Steve Kean, manager of Blackburn Rovers, has just announced “I refute suggestions that we did not treat the game [against Cardiff City] with respect.” Go on then, Steve, refute them. “I’ve never ever given up on a game. To suggest that we would deliberately forfeit a game would of course be wrong.”  Hmm. I’m finding it hard to spot a refutation there.

Just to reiterate: refute is not a performative verb like promise; you don’t achieve it simply by uttering it. You can only refute a suggestion by argument or evidence which proves it to be wrong. Kean was denying the suggestions. Perhaps he didn’t think that word carried enough conviction, particularly as he was already on record as saying “We forfeited our chance in this competition to get to a cup final…” But deny always sounds a bit weak and unconvincing, and has perhaps come to seem even weaker and less convincing with the rise of the expression in denial, which always implies that the denial is false. If this is so, perhaps we might expect deny to come to mean falsely deny and refute will move over into deny’s former space. I hope this doesn’t happen, but it will unless we can stop it.

From → Uncategorized

One Comment
  1. Anthony Friend permalink

    Hi Brandon,

    I am trying to get in contact with you. Could you send me an email:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: