Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I see both phrases the other way around and the other way round very often. Which is correct? Please provide usage examples.

share|improve this question
5  
When I hear "the other way round", I hear it as "the other way 'round": note the apostrophe, meaning that it's exactly the same phrase, just with the 'a' of 'around' contracted or elided away. –  Hellion Apr 9 '12 at 15:20

3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

There may be a transatlantic difference here. The Corpus of Contemporary American English shows that ‘around’ is used almost nine times more than ‘round’. The British National Corpus shows ‘around’ to be used less than one and a half times as much as ‘round’. The OED suggests that ‘around’ might have originally been a British English usage, and that it is now returning under influence from American English. Anyway, the OED shows them to be synonymous.

share|improve this answer
2  
True on the transatlantic phenomenon. My American ear tells me "the other way around" is "normal," and that "the other way round" sounds odd - but for you, maybe it's the other way around. Incidentally, I would only use "the other way round" for something directional, e.g., "You have to skate clockwise; you can't skate the other way round the rink." (Obviously, though, that's just how it sounds to me; the references already cited show that either form is acceptable). –  J.R. Apr 9 '12 at 14:58
3  
Unless you want to meet lots of new people, I strongly advise against skating round the rink clockwise... yet linguistically you made your point, and I agree. –  user25395 Aug 27 '12 at 11:19

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/the_other_way_round

The other way around is listed as an alternative form.

share|improve this answer

Coming from Kenya, English happens to be my third language. So "the other way round" is what my Kenyan British English is most familiar with. To say "the other way around" was to my knowledge grammatically incorrect. But after living in America for so many years, I have gotten used to hearing the usage of "around" in this expression.

However, my mind still interprets the two expressions slightly differently. To me "the other way round" simply mean "the opposite," whereas "the other way around" pertains only to "the opposite direction." I know I could be wrong...

I am now confused, do you tell someone to "turn round" or to "turn around"??

share|improve this answer
    
Yes, my British English would only say 'the other way around' to refer to objects that I am repositioning (and even in these cases, not always). I use 'the other way round' to describe opposing positions generally (i.e.both physical and intellectual) - although like @Hellion I hear an elided 'a-' before round. –  Dan Jan 26 at 1:25

protected by tchrist Feb 21 at 23:54

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.