What is the difference between the words verbal and oral? I am confused a lot about these words and I would be grateful for your effort if you try to write about the difference.
closed as off-topic by Nathan Tuggy, ColleenV♦, Damkerng T., Lucky, user3169 Jul 2 '15 at 4:22
This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:
- "Basic questions on spelling, meaning or pronunciation are off-topic as they should be answered using a dictionary. See: Policy for questions that are entirely answerable with a dictionary" – Nathan Tuggy, ColleenV, Damkerng T., Lucky, user3169
The distinction between the two terms is as follows:
Verbal applies to everything that is turned into words. It doesn't matter if these are written words or spoken ones.
Oral, on the other hand, has nothing to do with written words. In the context of language it refers to anything that is spoken. In other context it can also refer to things that are related to the mouth or the way certain medication is taken (oral medication = medication taken via the mouth).
Normally, verbal is not used to refer to spoken text, even though it can. In this case it is better to use oral instead to more clear.
Verbal = words, written and spoken
Oral = anything spoken
I think your confusion is caused by the definition #3 from the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language of the word verbal:
- Expressed in spoken rather than written words; oral: a verbal contract.
This may seem like a morass, but don't despair. Avoiding this accident of style is easier than you may think. Just remember that oral refers to spoken words, written refers to written words, and verbal refers to anything expressed in words, whether spoken or written.
(Charles Harrington Elster, The Accidents of Style: Good Advice on How Not to Write Badly. St. Martin's Press, 2010).
In other words, the adjective oral means pertaining to speech or to the mouth).
The adjective verbal means pertaining to words, whether written or spoken (though verbal is sometimes treated as a synonym for oral).