Averse vs. Adverse
It is easy to confuse adverse and averse but their meanings are totally different.
Adverse means unfavorable, contrary or hostile, and can never be applied to humans. You often hear it used in the term ‘adverse weather conditions’, a phrase which is best avoided in favor of ‘bad weather’.
Averse means unwilling or disinclined or loath and is always followed by the preposition ‘to’. It applies to a person and is used like this: ‘He was averse to discussing the conference’. Of course, it would be just as easy to say. ‘He didn’t want to discuss the conference’.
Overuse of both averse and adverse is likely to sound pompous. It’s always better to keep it simple.
The adjective aversion is much more common.
Here are some quotations from the press to help you see those words being used it in context:
But in fact, adolescents may be more risk-averse than adults, a new study has found. Their willingness to engage in risky behavior may have less to do with thrill-seeking per se than with a higher tolerance for uncertain consequences, researchers reported Monday. – LA Times
Many merger agreements contain provisions allowing buyers to withdraw from deals if the value of a transaction has been hurt by a significant development. In the case of the Verizon/Yahoo deal, such a change is defined as one that would “reasonably be expected to have a material adverse effect on the business, assets, properties, results of operation or financial condition of the Business, taken as a whole.” – WSJ
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