Do you know when to use versus and verses?

Last updated by Nick Curran [SSW] 4 months ago.See history

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Words like “verses” and “versus” are homophones, meaning they are pronounced the same, but have different spellings and different meanings.

When using a homophone in a sentence, it is important to ensure you are using the correct word, as if you are not, it won’t be picked up by your spell check and you'll look less intelligent.

In this case, “verses” refers to lines of poetry or bible passages. “Versus” refers to 2 or more parties in opposition to one another, especially in sports or legal situations.

“Versus” can be shortened to “vs.”, which is common in sporting situations, or “v.”, which is the standard abbreviation for legal scenarios.  

"Matthew 5:41 is one of my favourite bible versus."

Figure: Bad example: the wrong “versus” is used

"Floyd verses Mayweather."

Figure: Bad example: Floyd did not poetry Mayweather

"Brown v. The Board of Education."

Figure: Good example: in a legal context, “versus” is abbreviated to “v.”

"Adam penned many verses about his love for .NET development"

Figure: Good example

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