1

I typed the following sentence into Google Docs:

The calculation becomes more involved, since there are several different ways to use the silicon wafers (polycrystalline versus monocrystalline).

The word versus was underlined in red, and right-clicking yielded

Did you mean: or

What's going on here? Fwiw, it does the same thing if I use vs instead of versus.

  • 2
    "versus" comes up when you are comparing two things. In your case, you are talking about several different ways, and so using or allows you to state two possible ways out of all the possible ways to use the silicon wafers. – user63241 Jan 25 '14 at 3:49
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    several different ways, as you can see, goes with the conjunction and (not or), not versus (which compares). Naturally? – Kris Jan 25 '14 at 6:16
  • If you mean 'The calculation becomes more involved, since there are several different ways to use the silicon wafers (some of which apply solely to the polycrystalline varieties and some solely to the monocrystalline),' I'd prefer this form. If you mean 'The calculation becomes more involved, since there are several different ways to use the silicon wafers (which come in two forms: polycrystalline and monocrystalline),' I would separate this into two sentences as the information is rather loosely connected. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 25 '14 at 8:13
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The software doesn't really understand the sentence, and is giving you bad advice. There is nothing wrong with versus here; you are indeed comparing two things.

versus: as opposed to; in contrast to:

The fact that you're comparing them isn't stated explicitly in your sentence, but is presumably implicit from the context of the previous sentences; this may be why the grammar checker in Google Docs is complaining.

1

Unless you're trying to convey a different idea, you should use "rather than." Otherwise get rid of that sentence and clarify what you mean by "versus" without using the word -- because as you can note from the discussion above, it is unclear what you mean, even if you are writing for specialists.

  • +1 for the alternative explanation. But notice that you're going beyond what OP actually says, as do 'the discussers above', and pointing out that it needs clarification. And that I'm not accusing you of being sincerely a mean person for doing so. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 25 '14 at 9:10
  • ;-) I was playing, friend. But thank you for the +1. Thanks for the critique too. – xserf Jan 25 '14 at 9:14
  • Context is important. When one has corresponded with / read the correspondences of a person for a few months, one might be in a position to assess how that person might react to irony. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 25 '14 at 9:18
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"Vs" is used when you are comparing 2 things, in your case you seem to be stating 2 things but not trying to yield a comparison of some sort

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