Skip to main content

Inverse vs Reverse


  • ‘Inverse’ (adj) means ‘opposite in relation to something else’ (e.g. in position, direction, order, effect, etc).
  • ‘Reverse’ (adj) means ‘going in or turned towards the direction opposite to something else’.

What’s the difference between ‘inverse’ and ‘reverse’?

Despite being very similar in meaning, these words tend to be used in different contexts.

  • A helpful tip is that ‘reverse’ has a spatial/physical motion connotation, and is typically used in a directional sense.
  • ‘Inverse’, on the other hand, means anything that is the opposite of something else. It is therefore much more versatile and commonly used across academic disciplines.
  • Both can be turned into a different word class: ‘inverse’ as a noun, and ‘reverse’ as a noun or a verb. This may add to the confusion as to which word should be used in what context.

Writing tip: Want to make sure your writing is accurate and academic-like? Writefull gives you the best language feedback on your texts, plus clever AI widgets to help you write. Install now.

How they’re used

Example sentences with ‘inverse’

  • A gas volume was found to be in inverse ratio to its pressure.
  • Studies have shown an inverse relationship between a healthy diet and heart disease.

Example sentences with ‘reverse’

  • As seen on the graph, the trend appears to be going in the reverse direction.
  • We observed that the block had begun its reverse motion.