Whereas is usually used for comparing the features of two different things, when there is an important difference between them.
Whereas can be used when comparing anything: people, objects, places, actions etc.
You can use it in a sentence in two ways:
As a conjunction, to join two sentences together when there are 2 different subjects:
- I like beer whereas she likes wine.
- I’m good at snowboarding whereas she’s good at skiing.
As a conjunction, at the start of a sentence where you are comparing 2 different things:
- Whereas I like blue, she likes green.
- Whereas smaller shops often have more expensive products, larger supermarkets can often put their prices down.
Whereas used in a legal context
Whereas can also be used for legal purposes, in the preamble (introduction) of a legal text, usually a contract.
This is called a ‘whereas clause’, and ‘whereas’ is used as an introductory word – it isn’t used to compare things. Instead, it means “considering that” or “given the fact that”.
The ‘whereas clause’ isn’t a legal part of the contract’s operative provisions – it simply ‘paints the picture’ or ‘sets the stage’, it gives an introduction to the situation.
Examples of whereas used in a legal context:
- Whereas party 1 has made allegations against party 2 that party 2 recklessly, negligently and/or fraudulently misrepresented and omitted material facts.
- Whereas party 1 is a dissolved corporation with a formal principal place of business in London.
Whereas synonyms (non-legal sense)
Since whereas is used as a conjunction, joining two ideas together in one sentence, it can often be replaced with other conjunctions.
Whereas Vs. While Vs. But Vs. And
While (when while is not used to signal time)
‘While’ is used in the same way as ‘whereas’ in a sentence, but only when ‘while’ is not used to mean “during the time that something else happens”.
That means that you can replace ‘whereas’ with ‘while’ when it is used as a conjunction, but only when it is used at the start of a sentence:
- While I work in accounting, she works in the sales department.
- While I prefer going to the beach, I know a lot of people would rather spend their holidays in colder places.
But is also used to connect clauses or sentences, however, unlike ‘and’, it is used to signal a difference between two different ideas.
The main difference between ‘but’ and ‘whereas’, is that ‘but’ is used to signal a difference (or negative aspect), whereas ‘whereas’ is used to compare two things that are different. They can be interchanged in certain situations, for example:
- I like pasta but / whereas she likes pizza.
However, in other examples, but is used to present either the opposite of the original idea, or something negative about the original idea:
- I like that restaurant but it’s a bit expensive.
- She looked tired but happy.
In these examples, when there is only one subject in the sentence, but can’t be replaced with whereas.
‘And’ is used to connect words, clauses or sentences that should be considered together.
You can replace ‘whereas’ with ‘and’ when it is used in the middle of a sentence to compare two ideas that oppose one another (are different / contracting), and the meaning of the sentence won’t change much.
However, using ‘and’ instead of ‘whereas’ means the ideas are simply being stated, rather than compared.
- I like chicken and she likes fish.
- I’m really good at running and he’s really good at swimming.