According to the dictionary claims,

Advantage means:

A good feature that makes something better than similar things.

And also, virtue means:

a. The virtue of something is an advantage or benefit that it has, especially in comparison with something else.
b. A virtue is a good quality or way of behaving.

Despite the wording style of the dictionaries, I don't see much difference between these two words in one of the following sentences, but it strikes me as if they cannot be swapped in two cases! Please have a look on my examples and their relevant explanations:

  1. Your advantage / virtue over him is your higher educational degree.

Explanations: here I think that "virtue" doesn't work here, while it can only refer to the "moral" aspects of someone.

  1. One of the advantages / virtues of the electricity over gas is the lack of fumes.

Explanations: here the two nouns can be used interchangeably for me.

  1. Patience is one of his advantages / virtues.

Explanations: I think these two words do not convey the same message here, while the stand-alone virtue alludes to the moral quality of someone that put they in a higher position comparing another person/people and "advantage" cannot indicate such a message by itself, unless I change it to "moral advantage".

Do you confirm my interpretation in the above-mentioned sentences? If not, then please let me know why?

Thank you.


1 Answer 1


I agree with your assessment of the difference in usage between advantage and virtue.

If you use virtue alone, it indicates morality, such as your example Patience is one of his virtues. Though for it to sound more natural, I would say something like Patience is a virtue, and he has it in spades. (Having something "in spades" means you have a lot of it.)

If you use virtues of instead, your sentence would be crafted differently than using advantages of. When comparing two things, you would want to use "advantages of". Use "virtues of" when you're only discussing one thing. Either of these would be correct usage: One of the advantages of electricity over gas is... or One of the virtues of electricity is...

  • Perfect answer @Mik. Thank you very much...
    – A-friend
    May 21, 2019 at 5:02

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