I want to show that a switch between A and B, and vice versa, is not allowed in a specific situation. Is "Between A and B" the correct usage in this case?

I've been told that omitting "vice versa" might make it open to misunderstanding. What would be the correct usage here?

Edit: Yes, I see "Switching between" as distinct from "Switching from", since in my opinion, "between" includes both directions, whereas "from" only includes one direction.

  • '... switching between the states A and B' seems distinct from '... switching from A to B'. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 15 '15 at 10:25
  • Just a personal opinion, but I think you would be unwise to omit the "vice versa". You are correct in your analysis - "between" implies "in either direction". But it would be easy on casual reading to overlook that distinction; adding "or vice versa" makes it explicit, and so harder to miss. Of course it doesn't make total sense to add "vice versa" to something which implies both directions anyway, so I would change the between to a from and say a switch from A to B, or vice versa. – Morton Jun 15 '15 at 11:33

If you use vice versa to avoid ambiguity, you are suggesting an alternative to what precedes it. As such, you probably want

A switch from A to B, and vice versa, is not allowed.

In this type of construction, between suggests either direction (but might be misinterpreted), but from indicates a single direction.

  • If possible, can you specify why it's possible to misinterpret "between" other than just not understanding the word? For me it is quite clear what it should mean. I have been told that when translating "between" to other languages, some of the translated versions do not mean "both directions", might that be the issue? – private_meta Jun 15 '15 at 15:16
  • He traveled between Chicago and New York. That could refer to a single journey, and might well be thought to mean from Chicago to New York. Or it could refer to a series of trips in either direction. It is unlikely to be read to mean a single trip from New York to Chicago. People often assume word order to suggest direction. – bib Jun 15 '15 at 16:07
  • Thanks, that comment made it more clear. I didn't think of between in this context and that it might mean a single direction for some people. – private_meta Jun 18 '15 at 8:21

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