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I think perhaps I'm using the wrong word in this sentence. Is this the correct use of conversely and if not what is the correct word to use and what is the correct use of conversely.

If we decide not to plant a garden then we will not have to find a place to buy seed, conversely if we can't find a place to buy seed we won't be able to plant a garden.

In this question: Is the use of "conversely" to mean "on the other hand" correct? the answer mentions the word Obversely which when I look it up seems like perhaps it would be the better word. However as the answer also mentions that word isn't used often. It would sound rather odd in casual conversation.

  • I think the use of "conversely" is fine. From a purely logical point of view, the usage can be criticized since the antecedent is the decision. But more often than not it is used in the sense "but again," or as you put it "on the other hand". – mhp Jun 30 '16 at 14:12
  • 'Conversely' here almost certainly requires a preceding semicolon or full stop. A 'but' before 'conversely' would also work. // I'm happier with 'on the other hand' (again, after a semicolon or full stop) than with 'conversely' here, as the stricter sense of 'conversely' does not sit well with the looser. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 18 '16 at 17:43
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Conversely here would do just fine. However, technically speaking, conversely is used to express an opposite idea.

In your case, the strictly correct usage would be: "If we decide not to plant a garden, then we will not have to find a place to buy seed; conversely, if we decide to plant a garden, then we will have to find a place to buy seed."

However, unless you're writing an English thesis for your PhD in English Literature, you should be fine.

  • Now that is a coincidence (though I suppose this question has just bobbed up to the top of some pile again). – Edwin Ashworth Sep 18 '16 at 17:44

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