‘Dialog' or 'Dialogue': What's the Difference?

By Carly Forsaith, updated on January 17, 2023

If you're wondering whether to use 'dialog' or 'dialogue,' you've come to the right place. In this article, we'll explore the meaning of each word and when to use it.

  • In short, 'dialog' should be used with the word 'box' in computing contexts.
  • 'Dialogue' is a conversation between two people or parties.

Difference Between 'Dialog' or 'Dialogue'

Though these two words are spelled similarly and sound the same, they don't have the same meaning. What do they have in common, then? Well, they are both nouns. And that's about it.

What Does 'Dialog' Mean?

You shouldn't really use 'dialog' as a standalone word. 'Dialog box' is the appropriate term for "a temporary window an application creates to retrieve user input," as defined by Microsoft, who coined the word.

Over the years, though, people have also started to use the word 'dialog' as a U.S. English version of the word 'dialogue.' While that's acceptable, it's still preferable to use the spelling' dialogue' when referring to a conversation.

You won't find 'dialog' in many dictionaries.

What Does 'Dialogue' Mean?

A 'dialogue' is a conversation between two parties. That could be two people, two groups of people, or even a person and a machine (a computer, for example).

It comes from the Greek dialogesthai, meaning "to converse."

The word dialogue is primarily a noun but is acceptable to use as a verb, although rare.

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Dialog' or 'Dialogue'

Though spelled differently, these two words are pronounced the same. So how do they sound? Here's how the International Phonetic Alphabet says you should pronounce them:


And this is what they sound like when spoken aloud:


When to Use 'Dialog' or 'Dialogue'

Now that you know the meaning of each word, when to use them and how they sound, let's take a look at some example sentences that use the words. This will help you get a better understanding of how they are used in context.

'Dialog' in a Sentence

We'll start with the word 'dialog.' As we saw previously, it should usually be used with the word 'box,' so that's how you'll see it used in the following sentences.

The dialog box asked me to confirm whether or not I wanted to save the changes made.

To log in to the university enrollment portal, you must enter your date of birth in the dialog box.

The computer program will ask you to input your password in the dialog box.

'Dialogue' in a Sentence

Now let's look at some examples of the word 'dialogue' in a sentence.

Reading through the first draft made me realize that we need to add in more dialogue between the female characters.

The best way to resolve this conflict is to focus on productive dialogue between our countries.

You might be able to gauge his interest if you have a simple dialogue with him.

Concluding Thoughts for 'Dialog' or 'Dialogue'

So there you have it; 'dialog' is to be saved for computing contexts, while a 'dialogue' refers to a conversation between two parties.

For more articles on commonly confused words, visit our blog.

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Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

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