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Which word/expression should I use, "backward" or "the other way around", to express something must be done or placed in an opposite way than it's being done or placed at the moment.

For example:

  • The phrase pen red is incorrect. You should place the words the other way around/ backward.
  • Your sign is backwards/ the other way around. Turn it.

Please I would ask you also to correct any minor mistake I have made and if it's necessary tell me if there is a better way to say what I try to convey.

3

When it comes to words or letters that are out-of-order, the proofreading term for this is transpose.

A proofreader would use the following notation to show that the words need to be transposed:

enter image description here

You can learn more about this (and other similar proofreading notations) at websites like this one, this one, or this one.

  • Thanks. I have this doubt, Can backward and the other way around be used in same situations? Are they synonyms ? – Liz May 16 '16 at 16:02
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    @Liz - transpose is a more precise term; backwards is a more general term with more leeway in its usage. In the "He wrote with a pen red" example here, we could say, "Those last two words are backwards." Also, if the original was: He wrote with a der nep, we could say, "Those last two words are [spelled] backwards." However, we don't used transposed for spelling unless there are two letters transposed, as in, "He rwote with a red pen" (where the 'r' and 'w' in wrote have been transposed). – J.R. May 16 '16 at 16:09
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You would say:

The phrase "pen red" is incorrect. You should write the words the other way around.

or

The phrase "pen red" is incorrect. You should **reverse* the words.

You can't use backwards because there is no forward/backward relationship or positioning.

  • Thanks. I have this doubt, Can backward and the other way around be used in same situations? Are they synonyms ? – Liz May 16 '16 at 16:03
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To describe your incorrect example

The phrase pen red is incorrect.

You could say

You should place the words the other way around.
The words are backwards, you should reverse them.

With your sign example

Your sign is backwards. Turn it around.
Your sign is the wrong way around. Turn it around.

Though sometimes signs and lettering are intentionally inverted so they are correctly read when viewed in a mirror.

here

It's backwards.
It should be the other way around.

Can be used interchangeably in most circumstances to describe orientation.

  • Thanks. I have this doubt, Can backward and the other way around be used in same situations? Are they synonyms ? – Liz May 16 '16 at 16:00

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