Difference between confirm and conform

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Difference between confirm and conform
Symbol Confirmed

Confirm and conform are two words that seem very much alike that they can easily be used interchangeably if the learner of English grammar doesn’t understand what each of the words means and can’t explain the difference between the two. Words with similar spellings but different pronunciations and different meaning are known as homonyms. You can easily be confused by these words. Some individuals usually use the words interchangeably to refer to the same thing, without knowing what these words mean. Both confirm and conform are homonyms which are often mistaken for each other, and these terms have two different meaning, and as such, one word cannot be used to replace the other.

What are homonyms?

In linguistic, homonyms refers to a group of words which share a similar pronunciation but mean different things, whether they are spelled the same way or not. A more limiting definition views homonyms as words which are simultaneously homophones (words that have the same pronunciation despite their spelling) and homographs (words which share similar spelling, irrespective of their pronunciation). This is to say that homonyms have the same spelling and pronunciation, but different meanings. The relationship between a different set of homonyms is referred to as homonymy. Some good examples of homonyms include stalk (follow or harass an individual), and stalk (a section of a plant). Another example of homonyms includes left (the opposite of right) and left (the past tense of leave). Sometimes, a distinction is made between “true” homonyms that are not related in origins like skate (the fish) and skate (to glide on ice), and polysemes or polysemous homonyms that have a common origin like the mouth (of an animal) and mouth (of a river).

What are the other examples of homonyms?

Other examples of homonyms include:

• Pike and pike

• Cite, site, and sight

• Bare and bear

What is confirm?

The word ‘confirm’ is a verb which implies establishing or ascertaining the truth, accuracy, and the genuineness of a particular issue or something. This word can be used to mean the validity of particular data, fact, information, or even opinion. It can also be used in strengthening the resolution, the habit, or opinion of an individual. Application of the word confirm can be as follow:

• Please confirm your name on the record – In this case, an individual is required to verify their identity by showing their name on the record.

• The accident confirmed his driving fear – In this case, we knew he was afraid of driving, but the accident affirmed our knowledge of his fear.
Apart from the above, the word confirm can be used in acknowledging a fact with positive assurance. An example is as follows:

• The motel confirmed our reservation of the table – We had made a reservation, but the motel affirmed that our table was reserved.

Confirm can also be utilized in making a valid bind or establishing a legal fact. It can be utilized in ratifying or sanctioning. For example:

• The two nations confirmed the treaty – A legal agreement was affirmed by the two countries

What is conform?

Conform is an adjective that is applied in different ways. Primarily, it means assuming the same shape, contour or outline to something. An example is shown below:

• Liquid products conform to the form of the containers they are stored in – This implies that liquid usually assume or take the form of their storage containers

The word “conform” can also be used to mean to comply with or adjust accordingly to the existing practices, standards, or attitudes or specific group or society. For example:

• It’s always advisable to conform to the rule and regulation of any institution – This means it’s recommendable to abide by the laws of any institution.

Conform can also be used to mean: in accordance with, or identical or similar to something. It implies being in perfect harmony with a specific thing. For instance:

• They should make alterations to conform – They should make changes that will blend with whatever is in existence

• This idea conforms with the plan – This idea is in harmony with the plan

Difference between confirm and conform
Obey,conform, consume

Differentiating confirm and conform

Confirm and conform are two words that can easily be confused with each other as a result of their similarity in spellings. For language learners and for those who are on the fence, English can be a confusing, as well as a funny language, due to its usage of words that appear similar in spelling and pronunciation. Alternatively, those who use English as their primary language are aware of what these two words mean and how to differentiate them. This part of the article attempts to highlight the differences between confirm and conform so that you can use them confidently and in the right context.

Confirm and conform are similar words with different meanings. If you are unable to pick these words correctly when speaking, you may find it very hard creating sense from what you are saying. To confirm is to verify or ensure doubly. When you have bought a ticket for a flight, you call the travel agent’s twice to confirm whether the timing of the flight is right, so you don’t miss it. Alternatively, to conform means to follow by example or to abide by the rules of an institution or organization. When you decide to enroll in a particular college, you have made a choice to conform to their rules, and this implies putting on the right attire among others.

Therefore, as mentioned earlier, confirm implies establishing the truth and accuracy of a particular matter. It can also mean strengthening the resolution or habit of an individual. On the other hand, conform implies complying to or adjusting to certain standards, attitudes or practices. A table of the differences is shown below.

Confirm Conform
This is a verb This is an adjective
To confirm is to ensure doubly To conform is to follow by example
To confirm is to establish the truth To conform is to adjust or comply to specific standards
Synonyms include comply, abide by Synonyms include verify, corroborate, prove, establish


From the above information, it is clear that the two words, confirm and conform have different meaning and are therefore used in different ways. Confirm is a verb or an action word that is used when an individual wishes to substantiate or ratify information or news to be certain of its validity and legitimacy. On the other hand, the word conform is an adjective which talks about adjusting or complying with specific standards. Anyone with a desire to be like others has to conform to their ways of doing things.

When going for a vacation within a few weeks, you call the hotel to confirm your booking so as to be sure there will be accommodation upon your arrival to the place.

The dress she put on didn’t conform to what was worn by others and hence made her out of place with the regulations of the group.

With this information in mind, you are better placed to utilize either of these two words to drive your point home. It’s important to differentiate confirm and conform so as to make sense of what you are saying and so others may understand you.


References :

[0]Shrives, C. (2017). What Are Homonyms? (grammar lesson). Grammar-monster.com. Retrieved 5 March 2017, from http://www.grammar-monster.com/glossary/homonyms.htm

[1]What is the difference between Confirm and Conform? - English Vocabulary Doubts. (2017). English for Students. Retrieved 5 March 2017, from http://www.english-for-students.com/What-is-the-difference-between-Confirm-and-Conform.html

[2]Conform vs Confirm - What's the difference? | the-difference-between.com. (2017). Wikidiff.com. Retrieved 5 March 2017, from http://wikidiff.com/confirm/conform

[3][img] Symbol Confirmed:https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/41/Symbol_confirmed.svg/2000px-Symbol_confirmed.svg.png

[4][img] Obey conform, consume : https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/1/779533_af1e9e56ed_z.jpg


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