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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Criminal Sentence 93: Verses vs Versus

From a headline I saw the other day:

"Old Verses New Traditions"

It's easy to type "verses" when you mean "versus." "Verses" with two e's are lines of poetry, whereas "versus" with a u means "as opposed to" or "against" if you're talking about a lawsuit. If you tend to get confused, try to remember "us versus them": "versus" has an "us" in it. "Verses" with an e and "poetry" both have an "e."


Anonymous said...

Love your blog. I'm a Brit living in the US. Two questions:
1. Your first sentence had the full stop inside the quotation marks. Is that right? Even if it's not a quotation?
2. Is it appropriate when writing for business to abbreviate versus to vs?

The Sentence Sleuth said...

In the U.S., periods and commas usually go inside the quotation mark (unlike in Britain, where it usually goes outside).
As for business writing, I would err on the side of caution and not use the abbreviation.