This is part of the dif­fer­ence between series.

Recent­ly, some­one asked me to explain dif­fer­ence between the words rebuke and refute. Here’s the dif­fer­ence between the two.


Rebuke means some­thing like sharply express­ing dis­ap­proval or crit­i­cism. It can refer to the act of that crit­i­cism or the crit­i­cism itself.

  • She rebuked me for eat­ing all the cook­ies in the cook­ie jar.
  • That harsh rebuke broke my heart.


Refute, on the oth­er hand, means to dis­prove some­thing.

  • He didn’t believe the false news arti­cle his friend shared, so he refut­ed it with facts.
  • Did you just refute my unsourced, unver­i­fied claim?

Course can also be a verb, mean­ing to move unob­struct­ed:

  • The riv­er coursed through the val­ley.

Which words do you con­fuse? Let me know in the com­ments below.

Inter­est­ed in more gram­mar tips like this? Sign up for our free month­ly newslet­ter.

About Kim Siever

I am a copy­writer and copy­ed­i­tor. I blog on writ­ing tips most­ly, but I some­times throw in my thoughts about run­ning a small busi­ness.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter at @hotpepper.

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