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Adduce vs Advance vs Allege vs Cite

Adduce, advance, allege and cite may be used interchangeably in the meaning to bring forward by way of explanation, proof, illustration, or demonstration; however, they usually are clearly distinguishable in their implications and in their idiomatic associations.

One adduces facts, evidence, instances, passages, reasons, arguments when one presents these in support of a contention.

  • at the close of the chapter Aquinas solves an objection adduced as damaging evidence against his position
  • in the light of the parallels which I have adduced the hypothesis appears legitimate

One advances something (as a theory, a proposal, a claim, an argument) that is in itself contentious when one presents it for acceptance or consideration.

  • once or twice psychoanalysts have advanced that idea to me as a theoretical possibility
    De Voto
  • if such a proposal was not seriously meant, why was it advanced at all?
  • half a century later when the Bourbon claim to the Spanish succession is advanced

Allege may indicate a bringing forward or stating as if needing no proof.

  • younger scholars nevertheless can allege a very strong point on their side
    H. M. Jones

It may on the other hand stress doubt about an assertion or convey a warning about or a disclaimer of responsibility for the truth of matter under discussion.

  • those whose senses are alleged to be subject to supernatural impressions
    Le Fanu

Its participial adjective alleged, especially, often serves as a disclaimer of responsibility for the assertion.

  • an alleged miracle
  • the alleged thief
  • the presence, real or alleged, of some hostile group

One cites only something concrete and specific (as a passage from a book or a definite instance) when one adduces it in support of a contention; one cites by quoting a passage to give an authority; one cites an instance that serves as a precedent or illustration; one cites definite facts in support of something (as a claim or proposal) advanced.

  • the very real difficulties of modern physical science originate, in large degree, in the facts just cited