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Here are the differences between deny and refuse with examples:


  • Deny means to not allow or give something.
  • It implies a stronger rejection than refuse.
  • It is often used in a formal or official context.


  • The judge denied the request for bail.
  • The government denied his application for a passport.
  • The school denied admission to unqualified students.


  • Refuse means to decline or reject something.
  • It implies a more personal rejection than deny.
  • It is often used in informal contexts.


  • She refused my offer to help her with the groceries.
  • The child refused to eat his vegetables.
  • The customer refused to pay the bill, claiming poor service.

In summary:

  • Deny is more formal and implies a stronger, more definite rejection. It is often used in official contexts.
  • Refuse is more informal and implies a less definite, personal rejection. It is often used in daily conversations.

So in general, deny is a stronger and more formal way to indicate rejection, while refuse is a milder and more informal way. The nuance is subtle but the contexts in which they are typically used do differ as illustrated in the examples.


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