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Here is a sentence:

We have shown that the increase in A decreased B, and vice versa.

Here, I want to know which the exact meaning of this sentence is between these:

  1. The increase in A decreased B, and the decrease B increased A.

  2. The increase in A decreased B, and the decrease A increased B.

If the first is correct, how can I make the sentence in the second meaning using "vice versa"?

  • The meaning of the sentence is "the increase in A decreased B, and an increase in B decreased A". That's what vice versa means: in reverse order from the way something has been stated. – stangdon Aug 30 '18 at 11:30
  • Not necessarily. If it were a scientific paper I would want it spelled out exactly, not rely on guesswork as to the intent. – Tetsujin Aug 30 '18 at 11:31
  • @Tetsujin Yeah, it is a scientific paper, and I think you are right. I will correct the sentence without the expression. Thank you! – Sungil Aug 30 '18 at 11:37
  • @Tetsujin - True, in a scientific paper, I wouldn't expect to see something like "vice versa", but informally, I can't imagine interpreting it any other way. – stangdon Aug 30 '18 at 11:58
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If you insist on using vice versa there, possibly at the cost of clarity:

An increase in A caused B to decrease, and vice versa.

You wouldn't use the definite article, the.

Does a decrease in A cause B to increase?

  • Thank you! But, can you explain the reason the sentence we gave sacrificed the clarity? – Sungil Aug 30 '18 at 11:40
  • @Sungil: I explained with my question, the final sentence. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 30 '18 at 11:40
  • I am so sorry, but I am really not good at English, so I am not possible to understand what you meant.. Please explain me in more detail. – Sungil Aug 30 '18 at 11:46
  • There is some opportunity for reader confusion. Vice versa means "the same statement but with the order of the constituents reversed", however sometimes it will be defined as "the opposite" or "the inverse", and misunderstanding of the phrase could lead to confusion about whether a decrease also has some effect, even though the statement speaks only of increase as a factor. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 30 '18 at 12:05
  • I fully understand your explanation. Thank you very much! – Sungil Aug 30 '18 at 12:12
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We may never know, without the full context; because vice versa simply means "the other way round".

In this case it could just as easily mean

The increase in B decreased A

"We have showed" tells me it's either not by a professional writer, or the writer is non-native English.
It should be "We have shown".

That makes me think the rest is unreliable too.

  • Yeah, you are right. :) Thank you for your comment. – Sungil Aug 30 '18 at 11:33

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