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Curriculum Vita or Curriculum Vitae

I was wondering if Curriculum Vita is indeed the usage for a single CV. Is Curriculum Vitae not used in both the plural and singular formats?

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No, curriculum vitae is singular. It means literally, "the course of one's life" with "vitae" being the genitive of "life". not the plural. The plural would be "curricula vitae".

porsche December 21, 2008, 3:28pm

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I agree with porsche, but it it is worth adding that the single word Vita (just meaning "life," I guess) has also become common in some circles to refer to a CV. But if you are gong to say the "Curriculum" bit, it should certainly be "Vitae."

Nigel December 23, 2008, 12:16am

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Actually, I do not entirely agree with porsche. I think the plural of "curriculum vitae" would be ""curricula vitarum" (assuming "vita" is first declension).

Nigel December 23, 2008, 12:26am

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I got away without taking Latin in school; however, according to the Oxford American Dictionary, the singular is <em>curriculum vitae</em> and the plural is <em>curricula vitae</em>.

Now I'd like to know what the abbreviation is CV. I thought it was c.v., but the dictionary says I'm wrong.

Mark December 28, 2008, 6:48pm

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Well I did take Latin in school (though I admit it is rusty now), and I think your dictionary is wrong. (Unless a bit of incorrect Latin has somehow become an accepted English usage; but that seems very unlikely in this case.)

"Curriculum vitae" means course of life. If you have a whole stack of CVs these will be courses of different people's lives, so the plural, courses of lives, will be "curricula vitarum" (I have now confirmed that "vita" is in the first declension). Actually, the nominative plural of "vita" is "vitae" (like the genitive singular). Perhaps this is what confused the dictionary maker. However, what we need is the genitive plural, "vitarum."

I suppose that if the same person wrote several different alternative CVs (emphasizing different aspects of his experience, perhaps) then one might say these are "courses of a life," i.e., "curricula vitae," but I doubt whether that is usually what is wanted.

nigel December 31, 2008, 10:01am

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I was going to cede, but after further thought, I have to disagree and, again, state that it's curricula vitae, not curricula vitarum. Curricula vitarum would be the genitive of content, meaning a collection of documents where each individual document was describing more than one life within it. Curricula vitae would be the genitive of possession, a bunch of documents where each individual document describes only one life.

Man of the house becomes men of the house, not men of the houses even if they live in different houses. Chickens of the sea (not seas), mothers in law (not laws, even if they live in different states with different laws). To do otherwise is awkward, redundant, and wrong, regardless of the number of houses, laws, seas, lives, etc.

It should be clear even in English, It's "course of life" not "course of a life" or "course of one's life" or "course of some guy's life". The plural is courses of life, not courses of some lives. It's still just plain old "life", in the abstract, not some counted item. If life had more than one meaning it would be meanings of life not meanings of lives. It's irrelevant if each individual lives his or her own life.

p December 31, 2008, 12:09pm

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oops, that's me above, p

porsche December 31, 2008, 12:10pm

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gee, i guess i contradicted myself a bit. I originally said is WAS course of ONE'S life. Well, I still stand by general gist of what I just posted.

porsche December 31, 2008, 12:11pm

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Gee, I'm just full of typos today. ...i... should be ...I... and should be Normally I wouldn't bother, but I know how picky some can be out here. I've been corrected out here enough before for what was obviously just a typo. I suppose a pedant like me deserves it.

porsche December 31, 2008, 12:14pm

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curriculum vitaes

IspeakEnglish January 21, 2009, 10:07am

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As an Italian former student in Latin, I can affirm with absolute certainty that the correct form for the plural is, definitely, "curricula vitae".

Italian January 25, 2009, 9:09pm

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I should add, though, that in Italian language a rule of good use would require that other language words are NOT declined; e.g., "curriculum vitae" can, and it would not be considered as wrong, mean MORE than one CV, provided that the whole sentence is not in Latin of course. I hope my considerations were useful. Regards.

Italian January 25, 2009, 9:12pm

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"Curriculum" gets "vitae" because vitae is the genitive (possessive) form of vita, if my high school Latin serves correctly. So "curriculum vitae" means "course of [my] life."

"The term curriculum vitae means "course of life" in Latin. While it is appropriate to write either curriculum vitae or just vita, it is incorrect to use the phrase curriculum vita, the form vitae being the genitive of vita. The plural of curriculum vitae is curricula vitae."
(<> Look for Résumé--the accents won't paste properly).

marksan February 18, 2009, 3:06pm

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Rubbish. Curriculum is indeed Latin, but it is neuter. The ending "-um" indicates singular. If plural, the ending is "-a". Think of gymnasium - that is one gym, and more than one gym is gymnasia. Also data is plural, and datum is singular. I suspect that all of you do not know that there were three kinds of gender: masculine, feminine, and neuter. Data, gymnasium and curriculum are all neuter nouns.

jdawald December 4, 2009, 1:15pm

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hello, guys, could you please tell the difference between cv and resume?

totoyou September 20, 2010, 10:36pm

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My experience with resumes vs. curricula vitae is limited to helping to design my boyfriend (Ph.D., Sociology) design his CV, and designing my and friend's resumes. The Doctor is helping me write this response. :)

Resumes are usually short and current, and there's a standard that one should not exceed two pages (one page in my experience). The content is usually explicitly tailored to the job one is applying for. (i.e. If you're applying for a manager postion, you would list experiences and past positions that detail how you would be right for that job.)

Curricula vitae tend to be longer in length (three to 20+ pages), and they typically list—literally—the life of one's academic accomplishments: every paper they've written, every work that they've had published, every presentation at a regional conference they've given, every talk or lecture they've been invited to give, every grant they've applied for: whether they've received it or not, every committee they've sat on, every journal they've reviewed for, every award they've ever won, every position they've ever held, every course they've ever taught, every graduate student they've mentored, and if they're just starting out, they may also include their references, such as their Dissertation Chair and Committee members and other important people in their field.

I think that covers most of it. I hope that helps.

@LeslieDahling September 21, 2011, 1:59pm

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Is it proper to just say "vita" instead of curriculum vitae?

Sean January 9, 2012, 7:48am

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@ Sean - technically i think no (see the back and forth above), but many educated people in positions of influence do it anyway and get away with it. Now, don't go putting that on the top of your CV, but in conversation and informal correspondence I don't think anyone will notice or mind.

Meklorka February 10, 2012, 7:15pm

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imran February 15, 2014, 6:19am

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Yes     No