PSLE English

When should you use vice versa?

Notes from the video ‘Diffusion| PSLE English Adverbs | Vice versa‘ :

Vice versa is a Latin phrase which means “the other way around.”

Vice versa is used as an adverb and commonly used with conjunctions like “and”.
You use vice versa when what you just said is true even in the opposite order.

For example, if you say that,

“Dogs cannot survive where fish live, and vice versa.”
It means that dogs cannot survive in water and fish cannot survive on land.


Or if you say, “Tom eats at the restaurant so often he knows all the waitresses and vice versa.”
It means that Tom knows all the waitresses and all the waitresses know Tom.


From the examples, you will notice the statement is equally true when its subject and object are switched.

However, vice versa is often misused to indicate a logical reversal rather than merely a subject-object reversal.

For example, if someone said,

“I should spend more time revising the topics I am weaker in and vice versa.”
This would be a wrong use of the phrase. This sentence means that the person should spend more time on topics he is weaker in and the topics that he is weaker in should spend more time on him which is obviously not what the writer intends to say.

Other related content:

Then VS. Than
Whom vs Who
Much vs Many
Em Dash



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