Mar 9, 2012

Verses vs Versus

During recent internet travels, I was reminded of two more words that are often misused - verses and versus.

The word verse is most commonly used as a noun.  Books of the Bible are broken down into chapter and verse, and a poem (or part of a poem) can be referred to as a verse.

Verse is occasionally used as a verb, i.e., something that is written in verse.

The word versus, more commonly abbreviated as vs, means two things in opposition, i.e, two sportsmen or teams  (Frazier vs Foreman, or Packers vs Vikings), or a legal battle (State of Ohio vs Joe Schmuckatelli, or in the case of a divorce, Jones vs Jones).  It is a preposition so links two nouns, and can't be used as a verb.

Verses is the plural form of verse.  Although it sounds similar, versus cannot be plural, nor past or future tense; it's always versus or vs.

You would be incorrect to say "My team will verse my cousin's team next week".  (One of my sons often used it in that sense when he was a youngster and it made me cringe.  I hope he knows better now).  


  1. I love all of these lessons, Marie Anne! You are right indeed that people commonly mix up verses and versus. Thanks for explaining it so clearly!

  2. Oddly, I haven't seen this one misused very often. I'm glad I haven't heard it because I would feel obligated to give a grammar lesson and probably upset people. :)

  3. I don't usually mess this one up but there are a lot of words I do get confused.