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50 Mistreated Words and Desecrated Phrases: Vice-a-versa

Misuse of this phrase seems almost universal. How many times have you read this as “vice-a-versa”?

The actual phrase, “vice versa,” is derived from Latin. “Vix” means position or location. “Versa” means “to turn.

Vice versa points to the polar opposite of something. Most often, it pertains to the order of two things. Used properly, a technology writer might say, “All programs must be closed before switching off the device, not vice versa.” A food columnist might write, “Spread the peanut butter on one slice of bread, followed by the jam on the second slice, or vice versa.”

All things in good order.

“Vice versa” often pertains to two things that are interchangeable – or most decidedly not.

To sum up, those who are well versed will use the phrase correctly and say something is vice versa. Otherwise, they might have to face off with the grammar and language usage vice squad.

Hey, it could be verse. Some folks even say, “vicey-versa.” That’s just plain dicey and not at all nicey.

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