Which is correct vita or vitae?

Answered by Tom Adger

The term “curriculum vitae” is derived from Latin and translates to “course of life.” When referring to a single document, it is appropriate to use either “curriculum vitae” or simply “vita.” However, it is incorrect to use the phrase “curriculum vita,” as “vitae” is the plural form of “vita.”

The use of “vita” as a singular form is not commonly seen in English, but it is grammatically correct. In Latin, “vita” is the nominative singular form, while “vitae” is the genitive plural form. The genitive case is used to indicate possession or relation, and in this case, it signifies that the curriculum vitae represents the course of multiple lives or experiences.

In contemporary usage, “curriculum vitae” or “CV” is the more commonly used term to refer to a comprehensive document outlining an individual’s professional and academic achievements, as well as relevant personal information. The plural form “vitae” is occasionally used when referring to multiple CVs, such as when discussing a collection of documents from multiple individuals.

To summarize, while both “curriculum vitae” and “vita” can be used to refer to a single document, it is incorrect to say “curriculum vita.” The plural form “vitae” is appropriate when referring to multiple CVs.