Difference Between Manuscript and Inscription

Manuscript vs Inscription

Both manuscript and inscription refer to two kinds of letters between which there is some difference in the way they have been written. Inscription is a piece of material, which is inscribed. The letters in the particular material is engraved or carved into it. A coin is a good example for an inscribed object. Also, a short message which dedicates a book or an article, etc. to somebody or something is regarded as an inscription. On the other hand, manuscript is any document written by hand. Authors, usually write their pieces of work in papers before sending them for printing. This original,handwritten texts are considered to be manuscripts. Let us look at the terms in detail now.

What is an Inscription?

Inscription, as mentioned above, is an engraved or carved piece of material. Before Chinese invented the papers, people used to make notes or documents in stones, metal tablets or copper plates, etc. At that time, people used sharp tools to inscribe letters into these substances. An engraved inscription is called an epigraph. Epitaph is another form of inscription which is inscribed on a monument or a tombstone in memory of somebody. However, inscriptions have a long lifetime, and once they are made, it is very difficult to change or alter them.

Apart from the above definition, inscriptions are regarded as messages in an autograph or a dedication of a piece of artwork to somebody or something. These are usually short messages.

Difference Between Manuscript and Inscription

What is a Manuscript?

Manuscript is a handwritten or a manually typewritten document. The abbreviation MS refers to manuscripts. In the ancient times, before the printing was invented, all the documents were manuscripts. These are produced not only in books but papers and scrolls, etc. There are illuminated manuscripts which contain pictures, border decorations and illustrations, etc. However, in India, there had been palm leaf manuscript in the ancient times. It is difficult to keep handwritten documents for a long time due to many factors. Effects of weather, animal attacks (rats, moth), and bad storing would harm he original state of manuscripts. The oldest manuscript is said to be an Arabic document.

 Manuscript vs Inscription

What is the difference between Manuscript and Inscription?

• Definition of Manuscript and Inscription:

• Inscription is a document which is inscribed. The letters are engraved or carved into it.

• Also, a short message which dedicates a book or an article, etc. to somebody or something is regarded as an inscription.

• Manuscripts are handwritten or manually typed documents.

• Durability:

• Inscriptions have a long life due to its toughness and strength. The engraved letters do not disappear quickly.

• Manuscripts may have a short term existence if not preserved well.

• Materials used:

• Inscriptions are usually made in stones, copper plates or metal tablets etc. Also, tombstones and memorial monuments may have inscriptions too.

• Manuscripts use papers or a material which is soft and easy to write in.

• Alterations in the original form:

• Inscriptions are very difficult to alter since they are engraved.

• Manuscripts are written or typed manually, and alterations are possible anytime.


Images Courtesy:

  1. Inscription by Bernard Gagnon (CC BY-SA 3.0)
  2. Armenian Manuscript via Wikicommons (Public Domain)