conversation / discussion

  • cropje_jnr

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    Not exactly. In English, two people can have a discussion or a conversation. Three people can likewise have either.

    I must admit I wasn't aware of this distinction in French.

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    I would say that the distinction is slight but that a conversation is more informal, a discussion tends more to seeking a conclusion.

    We had a desultory conversation about our respective in-laws.
    We had a serious discussion about who to invite to the meeting.


    Senior Member
    My idea is that a conversation is more or less between equals; a discussion not necessarily so. If 10 people have a conversation around a table, it evokes the idea of people speaking in turn informally as equals, no "leader" or rank. A discussion around the table, however, could be "chaired" or have a leader or someone such as the "boss". Employees might have a group discussion with the boss but a conversation would be among themselves, such as "around the water cooler".


    Senior Member
    English, from Ireland
    I believe the distinction lies not in the number of people who take part, but in the tone of the exercise. A conversation is simply oral communication of any sort between people. A discussion, however, is where a subject is considered or examined and argumented, to reach a conclusion.
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