top of page

Improve Your Vocabulary With These Words to Help You Compare and Contrast

Improve your vocabulary and use the right language to make effective comparisons.

On the other hand

You can use the adverb phrase “on the other hand” to begin a new sentence that provides something opposite of the previous sentence. For example, if you say “tennis is an individual sport”, you can use a period, and then start the next sentence with “on the other hand” to introduce the contrasting sport: “basketball is a team sport”:

  • “Tennis is an individual sport. On the other hand, basketball is a team sport.”

You can also use the conjunction “but” to add “on the other hand” into the same sentence:

  • “Tennis is an individual sport, but on the other hand, basketball is a team sport.”

Whereas

You can use the conjunction “whereas” to introduce a clause that contrasts the previous clause in the same sentence. You should always put “whereas” in the middle of the two opposite clauses:

  • “Tennis is an individual sport, whereas basketball is a team sport.”

While

You can use the conjunction “while” in the same way as “whereas” to connect two opposite clauses. The difference is that you can put “while” at the beginning of the two clauses or in the middle of the two clauses.

  • "Tennis is an individual sport, while basketball is a team sport.”

  • While tennis is an individual sport, basketball is a team sport.”

Than

You can use the word “than” with comparative adjectives (ex. “more expensive”, “bigger”). The word “than” is both a conjunction and a preposition, which means you can connect it to a clause or just a noun.

  • “Tennis is more exciting than basketball.” – the word “than” is a preposition connecting to a noun

  • “Tennis is more exciting than basketball is.” – “than” is a conjunction connecting to a clause

As/As

You can use the word “as” twice to say that two things are equal (if the verb is in positive form) or not equal (if the verb is in negative form). For example, if tennis and basketball are equally exciting, you can say: “basketball is as exciting as tennis”, but if you think basketball is less exciting (so they are not equal), you can say: “basketball is not as exciting as tennis.”

When the verb is in negative form (ex. “is not as….”), then it means the subject noun is less of the adjective.

  • Tennis is not as easy as basketball.” – this means tennis is less easy than basketball

Compared to

Whenever you make a statement about one noun related to another noun, you can introduce the second noun in the comparison by using the past participle “compared” and the preposition “to”. Remember that this word “to” is a preposition, so if you want to use a verb word like “play”, it needs to become the noun form (gerund) “playing” because prepositions always connect to the gerund/noun form of a verb:

  • “Tennis is tiring compared to/with basketball."

  • “Playing tennis is tiring compared to playing basketball.” – in this case, the verb “play” needs to become “playing”

The difference between “than” and “compared to” is we only use “than” when the adjective is in comparative form. If the adjective is not in comparative form, then use “compared to”:

  • "Tennis is more tiring than basketball.” – “tiring” is in comparative form (“more tiring”)

  • “Tennis is tiring compared to basketball.” – “tiring” is not in comparative form


Practice

Use the words from this lesson to fill in the blanks below:

  1. The European continent is not _______ large _________ the Asian continent.

  2. ____________ Colombians speak Spanish, Brazilians speak Portuguese.

  3. A Porsche vehicle is expensive _______________ a Volkswagen vehicle.

  4. South Korea has a President, _____________ Japan has a Prime Minister.

  5. Moving around during work is better for your health _______________ sitting at a desk all day.

  6. Most television shows are between 30 minutes and one hour. _____________, most movies are between ninety minutes and two hours.

Answers

  1. The European continent is not as large as the Asian continent.

  2. While Colombians speak Spanish, Brazilians speak Portuguese.

  3. A Porsche vehicle is expensive compared to a Volkswagen vehicle.

  4. South Korea has a President, whereas/while Japan has a Prime Minister.

  5. Moving around during work is better for your health compared to/than sitting at a desk all day.

  6. Most television shows are between 30 minutes and one hour. On the other hand, most movies are between ninety minutes and two hours.

bottom of page