General Writing and Grammar Help/Evidence & proof

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Question
Dear Ted,

In legal terms, is there any difference between "proof (noun)" and "evidence (noun)"?

If so, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

Also, are there any cases in which the two may be used interchangeably?

Thank you,

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

In legal terms, is there any difference between "proof (noun)" and "evidence
(noun)"?

If so, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

Also, are there any cases in which the two may be used interchangeably?

*** I cannot speak "in legal terms," since I am not a lawyer.  In "regular" English, the two words are synonymous.  If you have PROOF that Jim stole the money, your PROOF is EVIDENCE.

"Evidence" sound more "legal" than proof, although both words are used in criminal and legal cases.  I hear the word "evidence" used in court cases.

In casual usage, however, "proof" is used more often:

A.  How do you know that John was responsible for the damage?
B.  I have PROOF that he did it.

A policeman would probably ask for the EVIDENCE, rather than for the PROOF.

Paolo, I think that, in the examples I gave you, you can interchange one word for the other, and the sentences will make sense.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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