Vice Versa vs. The Other Way Round

Vice Versa vs. The Other Way Round

It might turn out that even if you read the definitions of vice versa and the other way round, you may think that everything is clear and the phrases mean pretty much the same. That’s not true.

Vice versa

Vice versa /ˌvaɪs ˈvɜː(r)sə/ 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). For example,

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

– She is lying!

– No! They are lying!

So, when we say 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). For example,

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

Trying to remember the difference between the other way round and vice versa, picture this in your mind:

the other way round: the opposite is true (It was you who sought me out, not the other way round – you sought me out, I didn’t seek you out.)
vice versa: the reverse is true (He doesn’t like her and vice versa – she doesn’t like him. They both dislike each other, they both do the same action.)

Practice

Use vice versa or the other way round to complete the sentences below. The answer key is below the image.

  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 … .
I’m so happy to see my grandson, and vice versa, he must be happy to see me, his grandma.

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

2 thoughts on “Vice Versa vs. The Other Way Round

  1. Remember that if you say “vice versa,” the opposite of the whole situation is true. So, “Students practice translating from English to French and VICE VERSA” makes little sense. It sounds almost like “Students translated something and something translated into students.” By the way, the sentence “Students practice translating from French to English and the other way around” is taken from the Longman English dictionary.” – https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/the-other-way-around-round

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  2. Why in the sixth sentence is “the other way around” correct answer? Students practice translating from English to French and VICE VERSA; for they practice translating both from English to French and from French to English.

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