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By Judy Vorfeld

The adjec­tive “adverse” turns up most often in the phrase “adverse cir­cum­stances.” This means dif­fi­cult or unfa­vor­able cir­cum­stances, cir­cum­stances that act as an adver­sary (enemy). It’s also used to mean “harm­ful,” “hos­tile,” and “opposed to.”

Examples: This med­ica­tion could result in adverse side effects…If this gets to the media, it could reflect adversely on our bot­tom line.

Averse is an adjec­tive that describes peo­ple reluc­tant to do some­thing, or who have a strong dis­like or dis­taste of some­thing. Tip: It’s usu­ally fol­lowed by the word “to.”

Example: I’m not averse to (against, opposed to) learn­ing CGI, but I need time…He was averse to dri­ving on such a dan­ger­ous highway.

USING BOTH: Wanda was averse to hav­ing the surgery, since she knew of the adverse side effects from anesthesia.


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