Know Your Latin: Vice Versa


How many words of Latin origin are there in the English language? It’s a tough question—no one has actually counted them. Estimates go from under 30 percent to up to 60 percent—when combined with Greek. And there’s always the question of whether words with Latin roots that came into English from French should be counted at all. But one thing’s for sure: there are lots of them. Some are harder to determine because they changed their form over time, but others were lifted directly from Latin and to this day retain their original spelling and meaning. Sometimes, they survived as part of a phrase, which is the case with vice versa.

Meaning of Vice Versa and How to Use It

Vice versa (pronounced VI-sa VER-sa or VICE VER-sa) is an adverbial phrase that means “the other way around.” It is commonly used with the conjunctions “and” and “or,” although you can also use it with the adverb “not” to say “not the other way around.” When writing the phrase, you are not required to write it in italics because it is so well established in English (and in many other European languages, for that matter). You don’t have to hyphenate it, either. It’s always written as two separate words.
Vice versa started appearing in English manuscripts in the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century. The vice part of the phrase comes from the Latin word vicis, which means “succession,” among other things, and the verb vertere, which means to turn.


Good and evil are not fixed, stable entities, but are continually trading places. A good may be transformed into an evil in the next second. And vice versa.
—Haruki Murakami, 1Q84

What makes a hero? Courage, strength, morality, withstanding adversity? Are these the traits that truly show and create a hero? Is the light truly the source of darkness or vice versa?
—Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead

What can it matter to me, that I succeed or fail? The undertaking is none of mine, if they want me to succeed I’ll fail, and vice versa, so as not to be rid of my tormentors.
—Samuel Beckett, Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable

All of which makes sense for Apple, of course, but it pushes people with iPhones who want to chat to friends on Android (or vice versa) towards alternative, cross-platform solutions like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or even Google Hangouts.

An Oregon judge has allowed a 52-year-old retired Army tank mechanic to change gender identity. Not from male to female, or vice versa. But to a new, third gender.

If that object didn’t fall out when it should have, or vice versa, the cat ended up staring at the container for a longer period of time.
The Huffington Post

The post Know Your Latin: Vice Versa appeared first on Grammarly Blog.

from Grammarly Blog


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s