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I'm wondering if there is any distinction between using the word confirm versus the word verify.

For example, when sending an email to confirm (or verify) a user's account, is it better to call it "Email Confirmation" or "Email Verification?"

Does it differ by scenario? Or is it better to just be consistent?

  • Usually confirm is something done by a second party, verify is something done by a third party. – Mehrdad Nov 28 '14 at 8:11
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From English.Stackexchange: https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/5789/whats-the-difference-between-to-confirm-and-to-verify

Verification requires external evidence.

Confirmation requires a re-issuance of a believed statement.

To use your example: 'Confirm user account' is asking the user from their perspective. 'Would you like to do this?'. 'Verify your account' is more demanding: 'We need proof so please do this for us.'

Whether you use confirm or verify is up to you. It depends on how you would like your users to perceive your brand/website/product.

  • 7
    agree with your answer. For the sake of precision, I'd suggest that in the example given it's the user's email address which is being verified, not their account. In a typical use case, if you ask the user to confirm their email address it means re-enter their address. If you ask to verify the user's email address, it means that they click a link or a retrieve a unique code sent to them at that address. I would assume that any reference to 'an account' would mean the service for which the user is registering. – trbaldwin Nov 27 '14 at 8:53
  • I'd also add: if the choice were between "Confirm your email address" or "Verify your email address", there wouldn't be as much difference (though I'd probably go with Confirm). However, in the OP's example, "Email confirmation" sounds more "passive" -- it's what you get after ordering online to confirm it's been accepted -- whereas (to me) "Email verification" implies something more active that the recipient must respond to. – TripeHound Nov 27 '14 at 17:25
  • @TripeHound: The service would, for purposes of verifying the user's email address, ask the user to confirm that the address is correct. Using the term "verify" for both would be more accurate than using "confirm" for both; using "verify" for the service's actions and "confirm" for the user action may be more accurate, but might possibly be confusing. – supercat Nov 27 '14 at 20:35
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Yes there is a noticable difference.

The user should Confirm they want to make the change but Verify that the email they entered is correct.

Verify : to ascertain the truth or correctness of, as by examination, research, or comparison

Source: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/verify

Confirm : to acknowledge with definite assurance

Source: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/confirm?s=t

  • Indeed - Verify a fact, but confirm your intention. (In normal English these words do have overlapping meanings, but in a user interface, the distinction helps. – Dominic Cronin Nov 28 '14 at 12:46
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Verification is more typically an evaluation like a script maybe? Personally I prefer to label my stuff for "what it is" (what you see is what you get concept), In your example I assume you're sending out an email to that address asking the user to confirm that this is indeed their address.. So I guess it's email_confirmation in this case... email_verification would maybe be the combination of the evaluation + confirmation = verified! evaluation could for instance be a regEx comparison for correct syntax of an email address on user input.

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Email confirmation to me is more inclusive to users but also slightly more lax on security restrictions?....like checking an ID to get in somewhere vs. checking an ID against a list to get in (email verification).

Agree it may come down to how your brand wants to be perceived and how you view security.

  • Hi and welcome to UX.SE Allison Seamans! Unfortunately, this does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post - you can always comment on your own posts, and once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post. – Benny Skogberg Apr 22 '16 at 6:30
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Here is an easy explanation. Confirm. The correct known answer already exists. You just need to confirm that your solution yields that same (correct) answer. Think about it as checking your answer in a workbook- did you get the same answer that is listed in the back of the book?

Verify. The solution has to be reworked to verify your answer is correct. Think of this as double-checking your work. You correctly work through the steps of the solution a second time. Did your first answer match what you got when correctly working through the problem a second time?

Based on the most up-voted answer, it almost seems as if one could conclude that "confirmation" would not require external evidence. But, that isn't quite the case. The confirmation itself is held to the assertion that it is backed by evidence, if it assumed to be true.

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