What's the difference between "to confirm" and "to verify"?

  • We have confirmed that he made an unverified statement. – Blessed Geek Nov 7 '13 at 1:37

I don't think that these words can be used interchangeably. These words are similar, but are usually used in different ways. To verify something usually means being able to provide convincing evidence that it is true. When something is to be verified, there is usually some doubt as to whether it is actually true. To confirm something usually means providing some additional evidence that it is true. When something is to be confirmed, it is usually already believed to be true.

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    To add to that, I think that confirmation can only come from an authoritative source on the subject, whereas verification can come from anyone. Or am I mistaken? – Dennis Aug 16 '13 at 21:43

Confirm means that the truth is there and you double check. Verify means that you doubt something is 100% true, so you double check.


Verification requires external evidence.

Confirmation requires a re-issuance of a believed statement.

Sometimes, one may trust a third party to obtain and review the evidence required for a verification, which could lead to both word choices being valid.

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    Actually what You are saying here was also my guess. But I am a little bit confused about this sentence: "Confirmation requires a re-issuance of a believed statement" - Isn't it like the re-issuance of a believed statement should also proceed from a third party (in other words, also be external)? Otherwise, it would be merely an act of repeating a statement by the same person (the one who issued it), but that would nullify the very essence of the word "confirmation" as repeating things doesn't amount to confirming them. – brilliant Dec 1 '10 at 20:47

These are synonyms that can mostly be used interchangeably to mean "establish the truth of a thing." Nevertheless, confirm also has the additional meanings of to affirm and to ratify or authorize. Verify can also mean to test something's validity.

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    Let's say I am coroner and I have one suspect who claims he has an alibi - he was at the "Orange Juice" cafe while the murder was being carried out. So, would it be correct to say in this situation that I need to VERIFY this alibi by going to the "Orange Juice" and finding a waiter or any other staff in that cafe who could CONFIRM that the suspect indeed was in there at the time of the murder? – brilliant Nov 28 '10 at 14:57
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    It would be correct to say either. I would say in this instance that verify may suggest, very slightly, that the speaker doubts or mistrusts the contention, and that confirm may carry a slight overtone suggesting that the speaker may think it likely the contention will be borne out. But either would be equally valid to use in this instance. – Robusto Nov 28 '10 at 15:31

Pretty much same. It is matter of personal history of how the word has been received. Confirm sounds more official to me.

protected by tchrist Mar 1 '15 at 19:17

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