Word Confusion: Adverse & Averse

Dear Copy Bitch: It drives me nuts when people mix up adverse and averse. Any tips for readers?

–Jillian, teacher, San Francisco

Answer: Adverse means “unfavorable.” Averse means “opposed.”


  1. I had an adverse reaction to the medication.
  2. I’m not averse to seeing a film that doesn’t start George Clooney.

A trick for remembering: who here likes ads? Nine times out of ten, I bet you find them unfavorable. So try to remember the “ad” in “adverse” and think about those unfavorable ads that bombard you everywhere you go.

I’d love to hear other tricks for this one, so please share in the comments.