Verbal vs Oral

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What’s the difference between them?

Verbal

Meaning:

of, relating to, or consisting of words (especially spoken words)

Examples:

1. The teacher was giving a verbal warning to the disruptive student.

2. I received a verbal reprimand for not following protocol.

3. We had a verbal agreement, but I should have gotten it in writing.

Oral

Meaning:

Relating to or done through the mouth; spoken rather than written.

Examples:

1. I prefer to give my oral presentations with visual aids.

2. I have an oral exam tomorrow which I need to prepare for.

3. She has an impressive oral fluency in French.

Learn similar and opposite words to spot the difference

Synonyms

Antonyms

Verbal

1. Spoken

2. Vocal

3. Oral

4. Express in words

5. Utterance

1. Non-verbal

2. Unspoken

3. Implied

4. Unsaid

5. Non-verbalized

Oral

1. Verbal

2. Vocal

3. Spoken

4. Uttered

5. Voiced

1. Written

2. Silent

3. Nonverbal

4. Typed

5. Unspoken

Tricks for mastery

Useful tips to understand the difference between confusing words "Verbal", "Oral".

1. Verbal refers to words – both spoken and written. It can also refer to things said or done out loud.

2. Oral, on the other hand, refers to something that is spoken, rather than written.

3. Whenever you’re not sure which word to use, think about the context of the sentence. If it’s talking about something spoken, then use the word oral.

Check the full list of commonly confused words in English

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Frequently asked questions

When should 'verbal' be used?

Verbal should be used when referring to words, particularly spoken words. It is often found in phrases such as verbal communication, verbal agreement, verbal expression, and verbal instruction. It can also be used to refer to verbal exchanges between people, such as verbal arguments or verbal insults.

When is the appropriate context for using 'oral'?

Oral should be used when referring to words or communication that is spoken rather than written. It is often found in phrases such as oral history, oral tradition, oral presentation, and oral agreement. It can also be used to refer to conversations, speeches, or any other type of verbal exchange that occurs between two or more people.

Do the two words share the same pronunciation?

Verbal and oral are pronounced differently. Verbal is pronounced as 'vur-buhl', while oral is pronounced as 'ohr-uhl'.

What are some common mistakes people make when using these words?

One of the most common mistakes people make when using verbal and oral is using them interchangeably. While they can both mean relating to words or speech, they have slightly different meanings. Verbal usually refers to spoken words, while oral usually refers to spoken communication in general, such as conversations, speeches, and presentations.

Fill in the gaps to check yourself

1. It is important to ensure that all communication is clear and ______.

2. During the interview, he gave ______ responses to the questions.

3. The ______ test was a requirement for all students in the course.

4. The students were asked to submit both ______ and written assignments.

5. She demonstrated her knowledge with both ______ and written explanations.

6. The ______ agreement specified that the project had to be completed by the end of the week.

1. It is important to ensure that all communication is clear and verbal.

Explanation: The word verbal means communicated using words, usually spoken. This is in contrast to written communication, such as an email.

2. During the interview, he gave oral responses to the questions.

Explanation: Oral is another word for spoken. When someone gives an oral response, they are speaking in answer to a question.

3. The oral test was a requirement for all students in the course.

Explanation: An oral test is a test that is conducted by speaking, rather than writing. In this case, it was a requirement that all students in the course had to take the test.

4. The students were asked to submit both oral and written assignments.

Explanation: Oral indicates a spoken assignment, while written indicates a written assignment. The students were asked to submit both forms of assignments for the course.

5. She demonstrated her knowledge with both verbal and written explanations.

Explanation: Verbal indicates spoken information, while written indicates written information. She demonstrated her knowledge with both forms of explanations.

6. The verbal agreement specified that the project had to be completed by the end of the week.

Explanation: A verbal agreement is a form of agreement that is made without any written documents. In this case, the verbal agreement specified that the project had to be completed by the end of the week.

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List of Commonly Confused Words

Finding your way around the English language can be hard, especially since there are so many confusing words and rules. So, a list of the most confusing words in English is an extremely useful tool for improving language accuracy and sharing the ideas clearly.