I am an ESL student and my question is

what is difference in meanings between 'I refused him to kill her' and 'I refused him killing her'.

I will appreciate if anybody help me on this question.


Hi EnglishLearner, welcome to the forums!

You can't use 'refused him' like that, the correct way to write both these sentences would be:

"I told him he can't kill her"

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instead of refuse, try the verb forbid (which unfortunately has an irregular past form - forbid, forbade, forbidden).

i forbid you to kill her.

i forbade him to kill her.

i have forbidden him to kill her.
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I also works, but it implies a dominant position. To me, the original utterance:

*I refused him to kill her

sounds pretty Spanish:

"Me rehuse a que la matara"

In this case, the person is saying something like:

I rejected his intention to kill her.

This not necessarily implies that the speaker could finally decide whether the woman was to survive or not.
Regarding the word ' refuse ', it reminds me of the time when an ambassador in the US embassy turned down my application for a US visa. He said ' I am sorry I have to refuse your application ?

It has been years that I am still wondering why he didn't say the straighforward term ' reject ' as it is more appropriate to the intention.
Refuse is indeed the word that is commonly used in the case of visa, e.g. They refused him a visa. I'd say that reject sounds like they don't even want to consider your application, which is of course not true. They have considered your application and decided not to give you the visa, iow they refused you a visa.
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Got it !!! And a sensible way to say so, right ?
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