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The opposite of respectively...
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 4:31 pm Reply with quote
Kathleen S.
 
Joined: 26 Sep 2007
Posts: 10


Some time ago, I was having a conversation with my friend when a mistake in sentence structure made me freeze mid-word. I no longer remember exactly what I was saying but it was one of those sentences along the lines of

"Joe and Bill own a Porsche and a Gremlin respectively."

I suddenly realized that it was Joe who owned the Gremlin and Bill the Porsche.
At the time I couldn't think of a word or phrase I could use to fix the error (perhaps counter-respectively or anti-respectively?) but I didn't want there to be any misunderstandings so I began the sentence over again from the beginning.

I couldn't find an answer online so I'm wondering if respectively even has an opposite.
Any suggestions?
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 3:43 pm Reply with quote
thegooseking
 
Joined: 10 Sep 2006
Posts: 64
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland


This is a strange thing, actually. Dictionaries will tend to give the definition you mean (i.e. in the same order as given), while thesauri seem to imply that the meaning is something closer to 'individually' (and hence the opposite in this case would be 'collectively').

Surface inspection shows that this would make sense:-

"Joe and Bill own a Porsche and a Gremlin."

Without the 'respectively' on the end, it does imply that Joe and Bill have joint-ownership of either car.

'Collectively' clearly isn't the word you were looking for, though, as that would be even further from the truth than the sentence you almost said. I'm not sure there is a word that would switch the order, although you could try using 'regressively'. 'Respectively' seems to mean 'in order', and having an order implies a 'progression', thus the inverse would be a 'regression'.

There are probably words that are closer to the meaning of 'in reverse order', but 'regressively' has the advantage that you can even switch to it mid-word if you start to say 'respectively'! Smile

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 1:52 am Reply with quote
Kathleen S.
 
Joined: 26 Sep 2007
Posts: 10


That's cool. Very Happy
I never once thought about it meaning 'individually'.
'collectively' definitely would change the meaning of the sentence (not to mention the perceived relationship between Joe and Bill).

If there are any better words out there I would like to hear what they are, but I like the sound of regressively, both because of its logical intent and because I did actually get the 'r' out before I stopped myself.
It would have slipped it in nicely.


Thank you!
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:58 am Reply with quote
Eileen Ann
 
Joined: 27 Jun 2008
Posts: 42


Hello. But the style is better thus:

Joe and Bill's cars are a Porsche and a Gremlin, respectively. So this denotes that Joe has one car (a porsche) and Bill has one car (a gremlin) which relates to the individual placement of whose car is which.

There is no reverse to respectively; retrospectively is the direct inversion but tends to mean looking backwards, looking in the past as in "In retrospect, I should have done something else." Unless we said "non-respectively" to mean not in that order of flow.

Or why not just say "sorry, got the order wrong."
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 8:20 pm Reply with quote
canismajoris
 
Joined: 17 Jul 2008
Posts: 5


Well, it seems to me that once you've made the mistake, you don't really have to reword the original sentence in order to correct it. A simple "er, the other way around" would probably suffice.

I believe the use of "respectively" depends entirely upon the parallelism of the items in the series.

So X and Y and are a and b, respectively. In order to say that you had it backwards, actually, X and Y are b and a, respectively, you would just have to say that. But like I said, once you've done it backwards there's not much to do. If you have confidence in your audience, just provide one correct association, "actually, X is b, sorry" and assume that it will be inferred that Y correspondingly goes with a.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:31 am Reply with quote
Kathleen S.
 
Joined: 26 Sep 2007
Posts: 10


I was far more interested in satisfying my curiosity as to whether or not respectively even had an opposite than I was in actually correcting my sentence. Because of this, I was searching for a word or phrase that actually meant "the opposite of the order given", and initially thought counter-respectively might work. Though your idea to use non-respectively would have been clear in the original situation, it can not always be applied. For example, non-respectively would only add to the confusion if more than two individuals/items are listed.

I didn't really want to reword the entire sentence
I was simply hoping it was possible to fix the error in a grammatically correct and simple way that was slightly more elegant than "Whoops, my bad. Reverse that."
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 10:38 am Reply with quote
Eileen Ann
 
Joined: 27 Jun 2008
Posts: 42


What about just

"in reverse order respectively"
?

or

"respectively - er in reverse order" ?
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 2:03 am Reply with quote
Bloomer
 
Joined: 23 Oct 2008
Posts: 136
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA


I was tickled to find on etymonline.com that ambidextrous has an opposite (though rarely used) expression: ambilevous. Is this not delightful?


ambidextrous
1646, from L. ambidexter, lit. "right-handed on both sides," from ambi- "both" + dexter "right-handed." Its opposite, ambilevous "left-handed on both sides, clumsy" (1646) is rare. Ambidexter "one who takes bribes from both sides" is attested from 1532.



Personally, I dislike "respectively." Too formal, analytical, cold, pretentious. How about, "Joe's got a Porsche, and Bob's got a Gremlin."? Clear, direct, basic.
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