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Home > Language > Words > Dialogue and Conversation Compared

Difference Between Dialogue and Conversation

Dialogue vs Conversation

Dialogue and Conversation are two words that are used in the same sense. Strictly speaking, they should be used in different senses. They are two words that carry different connotations for that matter.

The word ‘dialogue’ is used in the sense of ‘discussion’. On the other hand, the word ‘conversation’ is used in the sense of ‘exchange of ideas’. This is the subtle and main difference between the two words.

Take a look at the two sentences given below,

1. A dialogue took place between the two gentlemen.

2. I cannot infer anything from their dialogue.

In both the sentences, the word ‘dialogue’ is used in the sense of ‘discussion’, and hence the meaning of the first sentence would be ‘a discussion took place between the two gentlemen’, and the meaning of the second sentence would be ‘I cannot infer anything from their discussion’.

On the other hand, the usage of the word ‘conversation’ is slightly different. Take a look at the following sentences,

1. Francis and Robert had a long conversation.

2. Angela did not understand anything from their conversation.

In both the sentences, the word ‘conversation’ is used in the sense of ‘exchange of ideas’, and hence the meaning of the first sentence would be ‘Francis and Robert had a long exchange of ideas’ and the meaning of the second sentence would be Angela did not understand anything from their exchange of ideas’.

It is interesting to note that the word ‘dialogue’ is primarily used as a noun and it is not used as a verb. This is an important observation to make when it comes to the usage of the word ‘dialogue’. On the other hand, the word ‘conversation’ is used primarily as a noun. At the same time it can be used as verb also as in the sentences

1. Francis had to converse with his friend today.

2. Angela conversed in French.

In both the sentences, the word ‘converse’ is used as verb in the sense of ‘talk’, and hence the first sentence can be rewritten as ‘Francis had to talk with this friend today’ and the second sentence can be rewritten as ‘Angela talked in French’.

It is equally important to know that the verb ‘converse’ is used as a regular verb, and hence its past participle form is ‘conversed’. On the other hand, the word ‘conversation’ and the word ‘dialogue’ are used in the formation of expressions such as ‘long conversation’ and ‘long dialogue’ respectively. In both the cases, the word ‘long’ is used as an adjective to the words, conversation and dialogue respectively.

The word ‘conversation’ has its adjectival form in the word ‘conversational’ as in the expression ‘conversational techniques’. It is interesting to note that the word ‘dialogue’ is normally used only in the case of two persons as in the sentence ‘there was a dialogue between the king and the queen’. On the other hand, the word ‘conversation’ can be between more than two persons at a time.


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