Word: Conversation or Discussion


I have a question about the use of 2 words:

Conversing / Discussing
A conversation / a discussion: what is the difference in your own words?
Do you have any striking examples?

I have looked on the internet:

“Conversation, discussion; these two words generally indicate a mutual exchange between two or more people; with this difference, that conversation is commonly used for all talk between two individuals, whereas discussion is for talk concerning a precise subject. So we can say that a man’s conversation is good, to indicate that he speaks well about different subjects on which he has the occasion to talk, but we do not say he is good at discussion. Discussion is used of a superior to an inferior; it is not usually said that a subject has had a conversation with the king, but that he had a discussion. The word discussion is also used when the talk concerns an important subject. It is said, for instance, that two kings have talks or a discussion concerning the way for them to make peace. Discussion is ordinarily used for printed conversations”

And here:

“In my modest point of view, a conversation is a lighter and “easier” way to talk about a topic. You converse at the club or at the cafe.
Instead I define discussion, and I should underline “I”, an exchange of ideas and opinions with points to evaluate, thesis to defend, somewhat like a dialectal fight.
Of course, it can be more or less lit, but that’s it, for me.”

Like for less serious things, we should use the word “conversation” and for debate / exchange of opinions, we would use the word “discussions”?

For ex, the title of the forum is “Discussions,” can you explain the difference between “discussions” and “conversations” and why it is “discussions” and not “conversations”?

@irmar any insight?

Interesting question and my opinion might be clouded since the English word discussion might just have a broader meaning than the Dutch word discussie.
But basically, to me, conversation leans more towards cosy talk, just plain socializing. And discussion is indeed more like debating, talking about a certain subject with people who usually have different opinions from each other.
I guess to some extend they could be mutually interchangeable though.

I think the forum is called Discussion cause it consists of separate topics that we can “debate” about. And of course those debates sometimes lean more towards conversations, but in general we are discussing certain topics.

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Conversation: a free and casual exchange of ideas, informations, feelings. With no particular aim. You can have a conversation about the weather, about the dramas you like most… It’s more about human communication.
Discussion: a conversation where the participants discuss a topic, aiming to reach a decision, and each one states his/er opinion and arguments, trying to persuade the others.
(ex. This point is not open for discussion)

“Last summer, we discussed the pros and cons of the Vikibot”
“There’s an ongoing conversation about what we do on our free time during the quarantine”

As you see, Discussions has both conversations and discussions, it covers both.

There are some instances where the difference is not that clear-cut.
“My parents and I had a serious conversation, discussing about my future”.
(But as you see, I instinctively felt the need to add “serious” to the word conversation)


Thank you @mirjam_465 and @irmar

So in general:
A conversation is a casual exchange and a discussion is a serious exchange with an aim like a debate.

But there are cases where we could use one instead of the other.

I see!

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Of course a discussion may not be serious. For instance when I’m debating with my son whether it’s useful to properly fold clothes before putting them in the closet :wink: I feel very silly for having to prove something that for me is obvious, but there’s a lot of arguments going back and forth.


Tch I have not seen your son but only your cat (not that I don’t like seeing your cat)! Such a pity!

I see, I see!
So discussing: the act of proving something or debating during an exchange + aim.

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