Expressions used in Everyday Spoken English in Social and Professional contexts

play devil's advocate

play devil's advocate
Meaning(s)
1) express a different opinion to others in order to examine an idea in more detail
  • How to MemorizePopularity MediumProfessional MediumSocial
    • let me play devil's advocate for a moment
  • Analysis
    If you 'play devil's advocate' it means to take a position which is the opposite from everyone else's in a debate or discussion in order to examine things from another perspective. If you 'play devil's advocate' you are trying to anticipate what people might think that have contrasting or opposite views to yourself. Playing 'devil's advocate' allows you to put yourself in the shoes of the opposition and to think like them in order to think of counter-arguments or rebuttals.
  • Social Examples (Advance)
    1. I like the plan, but let me play devil's advocate for a moment: would it not be better to do a test run first? 
    2. During class discussions, Sarah loved playing devil's advocate so that she could expose flaws in people's arguments.
  • Professional Examples (Basic)
    1. I don't actually believe what I said in the meeting, I was just playing devil's advocate to make sure that we covered all bases.
    2. Before we meet the client we should play devil's advocate and try to anticipate their counter-arguments.
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