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Common Grammar Mistakes: Is Conversate a Word?

There’s some amount of controversy surrounding the word “conversate.” Is it even a word?

Depending on where you look on the internet or who you speak to, you will likely hear different responses. Generally, most people agree that conversate is a non-standard verb, a more informal way of saying “converse.” However, even if others agree that conversate is indeed a word, they might balk at the idea that it is an acceptable word in grammatically correct writing or speech.

Let’s dive deeper.

Conversate vs. Converse

Actually, conversate and converse do have the same meaning.

According to Merriam-Webster, conversate is an intransitive, nonstandard verb.

If you were to look up converse in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, you would find it is also an intransitive verb that means “to exchange thoughts and opinions in speech.”

Example: They began to converse with one another.

Converse can also be used as a noun that is less often used as a synonym for conversation.

Example: He showed his ability to speak with great eloquence in his converse.

Lastly, though is it not as common, converse can be used as an adjective.

Converse: to exchange thoughts and opinions in speech. 
Examples of how to use converse in a sentence

On the other hand, conversate should only be used as a verb.

Because of the limitation of the word conversate, it can be considered a synonym for converse, but the two are not interchangeable.

Example of using conversate: I’d enjoy the opportunity to conversate more on that topic.

Conversate: synonym for converse, example of how conversate is used

Conversate Is Not New Slang

If you were under the impression that the word conversate was a new, informal way of saying converse, you might be surprised to discover the word conversate has been used in the English language for nearly 200 years. It can be found in documents written in the mid-1800s, although it’s possible the word was used long before that. There’s nothing new about the word, nor is there anything illegitimate. It’s been long established that conversate is indeed just as much of a real word as the word converse.

How to Use Conversate

The real question is, in what ways is it appropriate to use, and how can it be used correctly?

It may be argued by some that conversate is more informal as it is still a nonstandard verb. Using conversate may feel more acceptable in casual settings, among people in personal conversation rather than in the boardroom.

This position may lead to your next question: can you use the word conversate in professional settings? The common answer is that: it’s not recommended. This comes back to the fact that sources still categorize conversate as a nonstandard word.

For example, if you were sending a quick email to a colleague, using the word conversate may be fine. If you were considering using conversate in a peer-reviewed science paper or a published book, it is better practice to opt for the standardized version of the word, converse.

Conversate in Written and Verbal Communication

Aside from written communication, conversate is also used in verbal communication. Whether chatting with an old friend over lunch or giving a public presentation in the office, conversate is generally accepted as appropriate in both casual and professional environments.

Final Thoughts: Is Conversate Grammatically Correct?

No question conversate is just as grammatically correct as converse, so long as you are using it in a grammatically correct fashion.

You wouldn’t say:

  • His conversate was so tedious I had to stop myself from zoning out multiple times.

Because conversate is never used as a noun.

Instead, you would say:

  • The way he conversated was so tedious I had to stop myself from zoning out multiple times.

However, you could use the word converse and say:

  • His converse was so tedious I had to stop myself from zoning out multiple times.

You could also say:

  • The way he conversed was so tedious.

This is because converse can be both a noun and a verb.

Essentially, once you know how to use the word conversate correctly, it is accepted as a grammatically correct word.

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