“Verses” and “versus” are examples of homophones. They sound the same the way most people say them, but have different spellings and different meanings. Explore the meaning of each word, when to use “verses” or “versus,” and how to remember the difference between them.
The word “verses” is most often used as a noun, but it can also be a verb in informal language.
“Verses” is the plural form of "verse," so it indicates more than one verse. The word “verses” is a noun and means:
Writings that have a specific rhythm to them or specific sections of a writing
The types of writing that typically include verses are:
- The Bible
A good trick for remembering when to use “verses” is that:
"Verses" ends with "ses," which sounds like "says," so it’s related to something that’s said in writing.
On rare occasions, in formal settings, “verse” can be used as a verb that means:
To educate or teach about
A common slang version of “verse” uses the word as a verb that means:
To play against (an opponent) in a competition
You really only see it used this way by kids and teens, usually in the context of a game.
Example sentences can help you see how to use “verses” and better understand how it’s different from “versus.”
- My poem has seven verses. (Noun)
- Can we rewrite the last two verses in that song? (Noun)
- Which Bible verses talk about Jesus? (Noun)
- The teacher verses us in equations every Tuesday. (Verb)
- We verse OSU in the final game of the tournament. (Slang verb)
“Versus” is always a preposition, which links things together in a sentence. It is defined as:
In contrast to or opposing
Remember, “versus” links two or more contrasting or opposing things, like two teams. A good trick for remembering this meaning is that:
"Versus" ends with “us,” so it’s used for "us" against "them" scenarios.
“Versus” is always used between two words that are opposing each other, so you won’t find it at the beginning or end of a sentence.
- It’s orange versus blue in the final challenge.
- This case is John Smith versus England.
- Their debate pits evolution versus religion.
While you will find different abbreviations of the words “verses” and “versus” in different situations and cultures, their common abbreviations can help differentiate them.
- “Verses” is abbreviated vv., especially when referring to the Bible.
- “Versus” is abbreviated v. in legal documents and legal citations.
- “Versus” is abbreviated vs. in all other uses, and the “v” is capitalized only when the versus abbreviation is used in a title.
Improve your grammar and clean up your vocabulary by learning the proper ways to use commonly misused words. Now that you’ve got a handle on “verses” and “versus,” try writing your own sentence examples.