Word Confusion: Adverse versus Averse

Posted October 29, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Revised as of 14 October 2017

I have an aversion to adverse writing and that includes the spelling and misuse of words.

I want authors to succeed. I want them to write an excellent story whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. I want authors to look good. Part of looking good is using words correctly hence these Word Confusions, LOL.

Seriously, I do enjoy writing these up. Sometimes they’re words that confuse me and I want a quick place where I can go check it out, lessen my confusion. Sometimes, I’m not at all confused, and yet I keep coming across other peoples’ confusions. Sometimes, I’m simply curious.

I adore words and the myriad ways in which they can create atmosphere, set a scene, or build a mood.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.

Adverse Averse
Credit to: C.S. Lakin at Live Write Thrive and Apple Dictionary.com

A black-and-white cartoon of a rancher and a cow

“Adverse Possession Legal Definition” is Jakemartin206’s own work under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

rioters running from shielded pollice

“Afghan National Police Trainees Acting as Rioters Flee From Their Fellow ANP Trainees” by NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan was uploaded by russavia ((110910-F-HS721-275) under the CC BY-SA 2.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

These rioters seem to be averse to the police.

Part of Grammar:
Adjective Adjective

[U.S.] averse to
[British] averse from

Usually applied to situations, conditions, or events…not to people

Preventing success or development
Be in opposition to something
Usually applied to feelings

Strong dislike of
Be in opposition to something
Adverse weather conditions apply throughout the area.

I take an adverse position to war, poverty, and cruelty.

The dry weather has had an adverse effect on crops.

The CIA director is not averse to secrecy.

Mary was known for her aversion to flying.

The bank’s approach has been risk-averse.

Adverb: adversely
Noun: adverseness
Adverb: aversely
Noun: averseness
History of the Word:
Late Middle English and from the Old French advers, from the Latin adversus meaning against or opposite. It’s also a past participle of advertere from ad- (to) + vertere (to turn). Late 16th century from the Latin aversus meaning turned away from and a past participle of avertere.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

Arson by murplejane is under the CC BY-SA 2.0 license, via VisualHunt.

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