I often listen:

Apply the oil perfectly on your body.

Apply seems a bit writing-English here.

Can I use put on instead of apply?

I wonder if there is any alternative to apply for spoken English.

Thanks in advance.

3 Answers 3


"Put on" is just not descriptive enough. It doesn't convey any care about the process or the idea of massaging it in.

A thesaurus will tell you a few synonyms:

  • administer
  • cover
  • spread
  • smear

However, "apply" is the most natural and idiomatic. Although it might sound a little formal to non-native speakers, the synonyms above just don't sound right where putting something on your body is concerned. "Administer" sounds even more formal; "cover" means cover every inch, which is probably not what it means; and "spread" or "smear" sound just too messy and are more likely what you would say about putting butter on your toast. For putting cosmetics on your body, "apply" is just fine.


Even if it sounds obvious in a given context, it's not usual to say: "Put the oil on your body."

It's a bit more common to say: "Put the oil on your skin:"

To avoid slipping and falling, put the oil on your skin after you get out of the bathtub. (American Family Physician)


You can use it, but the compound verb requires rearranging:

"Put the oil on your body."

I actually think "Apply the oil to your body." is more idiomatic.

(I can't imagine what "perfectly" could mean there.)

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