Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: verses; versus.

verses; versus. “Verses” (/VUHR-siz/) are lines of a poem or song, sections of a song separated by the chorus, or subsections of chapters in books of the Bible. “Versus” (/VUHR-suhs/) is a preposition from the Latin, meaning “facing,” especially in law and sports. Writers sometimes misspell it “verses” — e.g.: o “‘Many rooms are semi-private and this idea sets up an obvious problem with the right to privacy verses [read ‘versus’] the need to know.'” Michael Lasalandra, “‘Granny Cams’ Bill Is Making Headway,” Boston Herald, 17 Mar. 2002, News §, at 14 (quoting Ernie Corrigan). o “‘But it’s the university. It’s the people. A lot of kids have chosen to play for me verses [read ‘versus’] another school because they want to play for me.'” Hilary Krasu, “Murrell Finds Cougs Check Out OK,” Spokesman-Rev. (Spokane), 26 Mar. 2002, at C1 (quoting Sherri Murrell). o “The use of 10W/30 verses [read ‘versus’] 5W/30 is a recommendation from the manufacturer to get the gas mileage to a higher level to comply with CAFE requirements.” “Auto Doc,” Newsday (N.Y.), 3 May 2002, at D19. Language-Change Index — “verses” misused for “versus”: Stage 1. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ————————————— Quotation of the Day: All your first drafts will need revision, but the middle and end of them may not need a great deal. You had steam up when you wrote them; you were commencing to feel what you wanted to say. But watch your beginning. That was written when arm and brain were cold. Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Theme Writing (1935), in Bridges: Readings for Writers 235, 237 (Donna Gorrell ed., 1985).
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