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Submitted by on Sep 7, 2020

Versus is a preposition meaning “against”, while its homophone verses are plural of the noun “verse”, like a line from a song or poem. “Versus” has many variations and shorthands, such as “vs.” and “v.”, but “verses” are not among them.

Versus is a preposition meaning “against” or “in contrast to or as the alternative of.” Used in 15th century English, the word comes from the Latin past participle vertere, which means “to turn.” Verses is either the plural form of a noun (“a line of metrical writing”) or the singular form of a third person not-terribly-common (“to make verse”). The meanings of these two words are pretty different, but due to the similarity in appearance and sound, people sometimes use verses where it is opposed by versus.

Versus and verses are homophones (“one of two or more words pronounced alike but different in meaning or derivation or spelling”), so no one will notice if you replace each other when you speak. However, these words have different meanings and cannot be exchanged in writing. Versus is a preposition meaning “against,” and verses are usually plural form of the noun verse.

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