Testimonials vs. testimonies — Is there a difference?

Cover image - Testimonials vs. testimonies —
Is there a difference?
Profile photo of Priya R. Monver
Priya R. Monver
Last updated
March 2023
Read time
4 minutes

Are you feeling like a novice, unsure whether to use testimonials or testimonies to take your marketing to the next level? With two words that are so similar, it can be easy to get confused between them.

Even though the words testimonial and testimony come from the same root word, they have evolved to have different meanings and uses in modern English.A testimonial is a statement of recommendation or endorsement, while testimony refers to a formal statement given under oath in a legal setting. It's important to understand the distinction between these two words to use them correctly in context.

While both words relate to personal statements or accounts, testimonials are typically associated with marketing or advertising, whereas testimonies are more commonly used in legal or religious contexts as evidence or statements made under oath.

What’s the difference between testimonials and testimonies?

Typically refer to statements or endorsements from satisfied customers or clientsTypically refer to formal statements made under oath or affirmation
More commonly used in marketing or advertisingOften given in a legal or religious context
Can be delivered in written or spoken form, and often include personal anecdotes or stories.Usually given orally in court or under oath.
Are typically not subject to legal scrutinyCarry legal implications and may be subject to cross-examination
Usually provided voluntarily by someone who has had a positive experience with a product or serviceUsually given in response to a formal request or requirement, such as a subpoena or a religious confession

Don’t you think the words testimonial and testimony are incredibly similar? The reason behind this similarity is a shared root word.

The Latin word 'testis' originally meant "witness" or "one who gives evidence." This word forms the root of both 'testimonial' and 'testimony'.

Testimonials are like little love letters from satisfied customers or clients that businesses use to promote their products or services. They can be in the form of written or spoken statements that often include personal stories or anecdotes about a positive experience with the product or service. Testimonials are usually given voluntarily by happy customers who want to share their positive experiences with others and are not typically scrutinized by the legal system.

Chances are, you may have even given a testimonial yourself for a brand or product that you had a great experience with, whether it was a review on a website, a recommendation to a friend, or a social media post.

Testimonies, on the other hand, are pretty serious statements that you make under oath or affirmation, usually in a legal or religious setting. They're given in response to a formal request like a subpoena or a religious confession, and they carry some serious legal implications. So, it's not something you take lightly.

Testimonies are often subject to cross-examination, making them an important source of evidence in legal proceedings. Whether you're in a courtroom or a religious ceremony, giving a testimony means you're bearing witness to something important, and it's definitely not something you want to mess around with!

Testimony is testified

At its core, testimony can be understood as statements made under oath in legal or religious settings. Therefore, if you’re a business owner looking to market your business, it is unlikely that you ever need testimonies.

Sometimes, when there are legal issues arising because of a marketing campaign, there may be a need for testimony. Marketers may need to present evidence or proof to support their marketing claims or to defend against allegations of wrongdoing. In some cases, this may require a formal statement made under oath or affirmation, such as in a legal proceeding.

Picture this: you're watching a crime show, and the cops are questioning suspects. Sometimes, when a crime happens, suspects need to provide testimony to prove they're innocent. An alibi is a kind of testimony that shows where someone was during the crime. Giving a believable testimony is crucial to figure out who's guilty or not. That's why it's important to tell the truth when giving testimony, especially if it could affect your freedom or reputation.

The power of testimonials today

Testimonials matter more than ever in today's world, where social proof is a key factor in decision-making for consumers.

Have you ever bought a product or service based on a friend's recommendation or a glowing review online? That's the power of testimonials in action!

Testimonials are one of the truest forms of marketing that exist, and their power can not be overstated. Essentially, testimonials let customers take the stage to share their real experiences with a product or service - in turn, providing extremely valuable feedback and insight for potential customers.

Let's say you have a friend who's a wedding photographer, and he's having a tough time getting new clients. He's got some great shots from a friend's wedding, but for some reason, people just aren't biting. What he really needs is a little push, something that'll help him stand out and get noticed. That's where testimonials come in! After his friend posts an online testimonial vouching for his services, his business suddenly takes off. It's amazing what a little social proof can do to establish trust and credibility with potential customers, especially for small businesses just starting out.

Today, testimonials have more power than ever before, as people trust testimonials more than advertisements or other forms of paid media.

So what is the difference between testimonials and testimony again?

So there you have it, folks! Although testimonials and testimony may have the same linguistic origin, their meanings, and uses have diverged over time. A testimonial is a statement of recommendation or endorsement, often used in marketing or advertising, while testimony refers to a formal statement given under oath in a legal or religious setting. Understanding the distinction between these two words is essential to use them correctly in context.

So, whether you're using testimonials to promote your business or giving testimony in a court of law, it's important to use these words accurately to ensure that you are communicating clearly and effectively.

In case you’re a marketer, don’t forget to check out how you can enhance your brand awareness with testimonials.

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