orally vs. verbally

Discussion in 'English Only' started by river, Jul 27, 2007.

  1. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    As I have advised you in the past, both orally and in writing, I don’t agree with the version of the facts relating to the possible relocation of . . .

    Would "verbal" work as well, here? Is there a distinction between "oral" and "verbal"?

    I thought this was discussed before, but I can't find it.
  2. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    "Verbally" sounds better to me, actually. Both should be acceptable, I suppose, but "verbal warning" is far more common than "oral warning."
  3. cyberpedant

    cyberpedant Senior Member

    North Adams, MA
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    To me, "orally" doesn't have exactly the right ring in this context. I would choose "verbally," or make specific reference to the conversation, e.g., "As I have advised you in the past, during our telephone conversation of April 3, 2007..."
  4. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    I found this:

    "The word "oral" means by mouth; "verbal" means, simply, in words -- whether by mouth or by hand, spoken or written. When talking about contracts, use oral (not verbal) or written contract." Vocabula Review

    Thank you, C and B.
  5. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    USA - English
    Orally is definitely better, as you discovered, as it is clearly different from "in writing". "Verbally", however, includes both spoken and written words -- think about it; what in the world would "non-verbal writing" consist of? Pictograms, perhaps? I doubt that is what is being described!
  6. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    There is a distinction between oral and verbal if you choose to make one. But the use of verbally to mean spoken rather than written has a very long pedigree.
  7. nichec

    nichec Senior Member

    I myself prefer "verbally" in this context, because "orally" makes me think about funny stuff, like medicine and......blah blah blah :D

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