Vice versa vs. the Other Way Round

The problem with vice versa and the other way round is that in some languages there is one word for these two concepts and many people simply can’t see the difference between the two phrases right away. For example, both vice versa and the other way round would be translated into Russian as “наоборот”, into Ukrainian – as “навпаки”, and the list could go on. Thus, the right use of vice versa and the other way round doesn’t always come easy. Are you confused by the two phrases? Or would you like to make sure that your understanding of them is correct? Please read on…

VICE VERSA

Vice versa is used to say that what you have just said is also true in the opposite order (the Cambridge English Dictionary), to indicate that the reverse of what you have said is true (the Collins Dictionary):

  1.  You can copy contacts from SIM to phone memory, and vice versa.
  2. The future of the country depends on regional developments, and vice versa.
  3. He doesn’t like her, and vice versa.
  4. If they go away, we have their children and vice versa.
  5. The police maintain she is lying and vice versa.

In other words, you can copy contacts not only from SIM to phone memory but also from phone memory to SIM (1), the future of the country depends on developments and developments depend on the future of the country (2), he doesn’t like her and she doesn’t like him either (3), if they go away, we have their children and if we go away, they have our children (4), the police maintain she is a liar and she maintains the police are lying (5).

cop-policewoman-colleagues-funny.jpg

– She is lying! – No! They are lying!

So, when we use vice versa, we mean that each party does the same thing.

THE OTHER WAY ROUND/AROUND/ABOUT

The other way round is used to say that the opposite situation is true, or that something should be in the opposite position, direction or order (the Merriam-Webster Dictionary):

  1. You put the fork on the right and the knife on the left. They should be the other way round.
  2. It only works the other way round. 
  3. The question is better put the other way around: will Californians pay much attention to the politicians?
  4. It was you who sought me out, not the other way round.
  5. I always thought that rugby was a rougher game than football, but in fact it’s the other way round.

Now, let’s rephrase. The fork should be on the left and the knife should be on the right – it’s the opposite to the way they put them on the table (1), if something works the other way round, it only works in the opposite way (2), we should ask if Californians will pay attention to the politicians, not the politicians to Californians (only one party pays attention to the other in this case) (3), you sought me out – I didn’t seek you out (only you were involved in seeking out) (4), it’s not rugby that is rougher – it’s football that is rougher (5).

So, using the other way round, remember this arrow:

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the other way round

 

Using vice versa, remember this:

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vice versa

Would you like to practice? Use vice versa or the other way round to complete the sentences below:

  1. It may also be more accurate to say that the user responds to the system rather than … .
  2. He refuses to believe anything they say and … .
  3. She’s very angry with him and … .
  4. Language, I have learned, by writing about this, gives birth to feeling, not … .
  5. With this software, descriptions can replace names and … .
  6. Students practice translating from French to English and … .
  7. As a result, arrest now often followed investigation rather than … .
  8. They say that you teach your children, but with Anna it was … – it’s like they taught her something but she was just a learner.
  9. Teachers qualified to teach in England are not accepted in Scotland, and … .
  10. The boys teased the girls and … .

Answer key: 1 – the other way around; 2 – vice versa; 3 – vice versa; 4 – the other way around; 5 – vice versa; 6 – the other way around; 7 – the other way around; 8 – the other way around; 9 – vice versa; 10 – vice versa.