The forensics consultant averred that the victim’s reports were tampered with. The police asked him if he would be willing to be a state’s witness and avow this in court.
The words ‘aver’ and ‘avow’ are verbs and can be tricky to comprehend and use owing to the similarity in their meaning. ‘Aver’ is composed of Latin ‘ad’ and ‘verus’, meaning ‘to’ and true’ respectively. Hence, ‘to aver’ means to declare or assert the truth. It means to affirm a fact about something with absolute confidence. Avow, on the other hand, descends from Anglo-French ‘avouer’ meaning ‘to acknowledge or recognize as a matter of fact’. It means to publicly and openly proclaim something as a believed truth. It also means to take a vow or promise something. Simply-put, aver means to acknowledge, while avow means to declare.
As both of these words deal with the subject of perceived or believed truth, ‘Aver’ and ‘avow’ are also commonly used legal terms. In a strictly legal context, however, these words have different meanings than their use in literature. If you aspire to be a lawyer or a public debater one day, these words may come in handy. Follow this article till the end to become fluent in using these words.
Aver vs avow – definition, uses, and examples
Definition of aver
‘Aver’ is pronounced as ‘ay-vuh’. It is used as a verb, often transitively, and refers to affirming or acknowledging something as true or in a positive sense. To aver something basically means to verify, confirm or authenticate something with absolute certainty or confidence. It is typically used in formal discourse to state one’s perceived or believed truth regarding a subject as a matter of fact. For instance, a scientist may ‘aver’ that climate change is real; meaning that he honestly insists that climate change is real without a doubt.
In a legal context, ‘aver’ means to substantiate or warrant a legal plea. Words synonymous with the verb ‘aver’ include ‘attest’, ‘affirm’ and ‘assert’. The present participle of the word under consideration is ‘averring’ while the past and past participle is ‘averred’.
Example sentences of aver
- The professor chuckled before saying that he can safely aver that the world will end before communism succeeds.
In the indirect speech above, the verb ‘aver’ is used in the present tense. The professor chuckled and assertively remarked that communism will not, in any way, succeed.
- The child, with chocolate cream all over his mouth and nose, averred that he did not go near the ice cream.
Here, the subject of the sentence is ‘averring’ or declaring it to be true that he did not eat the ice cream.
- The patient sitting before his psychiatrist appeared more stable than before so the physiatrist averred that he had been taking his medications on time.
In the sentence above, the word ‘aver’ is used to affirm that the psychiatric patient was taking his medicines compliantly.
Definition of avow
Avow is pronounced as ‘ay-vau’ and used as a verb. It is often used transitively, literally meaning to ‘to take a vow’. ‘Avow’ basically means to assuredly express something frankly and publicly, usually under an assumed or literal pledge. It is used in both formal and legal discourse and has a slight overlap in the meaning in the respective contexts. Legally, it denotes the action of publicly, openly declaring something as a matter of fact. For example ‘criminals avow their crimes in court regularly.’
The word has also found its use in situations of open declaration or private assurances. For instance, a mayor may ‘avow’ to avenge the deaths of his city’s citizens; where the verb stresses on his ‘public promise’. Similarly, a couple may ‘avow’ to love each other till death separates them; where the verb carries a sense of a ‘private pledge’.
It must be understood, however, that the subject does not need to make a literal promise or be under a literal oath or pledge. The word shows that the subject is under an obligation (pledge) and he willfully wants to follow it. Simply put, ‘avow’ carries the elements of assertive declaration and personal responsibility, unlike ‘aver’ which lacks the latter quality. Synonyms of ‘avow’ include ‘swear’, ‘avouch’, and ‘declare’. Present participle of ‘avow’ is ‘avowing’ while past participle are ‘avowed’.
Example sentences of avow
- It is a hallmark of dictatorships that opponents who refuse to avow their loyalty to the premier, often disappear.
Here, the verb ‘avow’ is used for the object ‘loyalty’ and signifies a public pledge of allegiance.
- As he grieved the death of his mother from tuberculosis, he avowed that he will rid the world of this deadly illness.
In this sentence, the subject avows or promises to eliminate tuberculosis from this world.
- Soon after the court summoned him, the young suspect kept avowing that he was innocent of the alleged crime.
Here, the verb is used both formally and in a legal sense. The subject keeps openly avowing or declaring in court that he was innocent.
The words ‘aver’ and ‘avow’ certainly seem to have an apparent overlap in their meanings. However, with little consideration, you can learn to use the proper verb for any sentence. It is noteworthy that both of these verbs refer to a declaration or affirmation of truth. However, it must be remembered that aver is typically used to confirm the truth while avow can be used in several other senses including the declaration of a promise. Additionally, ‘avow’ carries the sense of personal responsibility or duty while ‘aver’ does not.
For prompt use, remember that ‘aver’ has ‘-ver’ in it and so does ‘verify. So ‘aver’ can be used wherever an object demands to be verified. Similarly, ‘avow’ has ‘-vow’ in it, which means promise, which demands subjective accountability. Hence, wherever the subject is to be held responsible for his words, especially on a public or legal forum, the proper verb to be used is ‘avow’.