controversy : 侧重指深刻的意见分歧，多指对引起广泛兴趣或非常重要的问题的辨论。
- There was a big controversy surrounding/over the use of drugs in athletics.
- The policy has caused fierce/heated controversy ever since it was introduced.
argument : 指辩论双方均以事实或理由来说服对方的辨论。
- The children had an argument about/over what game to play.
- He got into an argument with Jeff in the pub last night.
- A decision was finally made after some heated argument.
conflict : 指双方坚持已见、互不妥协，怀有敌意的争论，多暗示分歧极为严重，有时用语言无法解决，只得诉诸武力。
- There was a lot of conflict between him and his father.
- It was an unpopular policy and caused a number of conflicts within the party.
- His outspoken views would frequently bring him into conflict with the president.
debate : 通常指经过仔细组织和计划的个人或团体之间的辩论。
- Education is the current focus of public debate.
- How we proceed from here is a matter for debate.
- Over the year we have had several debates about future policy.
dispute : 普通用词，侧重指长时间，言词激烈，针锋相对的争辩。
- a bitter/long-running dispute
- a border dispute
- a pay/legal/trade dispute
- They have been unable to settle/resolve the dispute over working conditions.
- The unions are in dispute with management over pay.
quarrel : 普通用词，既可指言词激烈的争吵，也可指温和的言词上的不和。
- They had a bitter quarrel about/over some money three years ago and they haven't spoken to each other since.
- We have no quarrel with the people of your country (= we have no reason to disagree with or dislike them).
- They seem to have patched up their quarrel (= finished their disagreement and started to be friendly).
strife : 指因不可缓和的矛盾而引起的争吵或斗殴。
- What are the prospects for overcoming the strife between the Christian minority and Muslim majority?
- 20 years of civil strife have left the country's economy in ruins.