I often see the word Whereas being used in formal letters in the University or at academic level. For example,

Whereas by Charter of Her Late Majesty Queen Victoria, dated 20th April, 1880, the Victoria University was founded and constituted having its seat in the City of Manchester.

Charter of the University of Leeds

What is its precise meaning? What is its use in sentences?

Besides looking up its meaning in the dictionaries, I still feel uncertainty while using it in sentences. It is often used in the beginning of sentence in formal letters but I don't understand its meaning fully. I'd like to know its meaning so that I too can use it often in University.

  • 1
    If you know the dictionary definition of the word, what about it makes you uncertain of its meaning and usage?
    – KillingTime
    Commented Mar 13, 2020 at 5:56
  • 1
    When the word Whereas being used in the beginning of a sentence does not convey the meaning I get from online dictionaries. One shows used as Contrast* and the second one **Legal letters
    – user273221
    Commented Mar 13, 2020 at 5:59
  • I love learning English language, whereas my friend does not. But, when the same word is used in beginning of some formal letters with comma (,) I usually don't get its meaning.
    – user273221
    Commented Mar 13, 2020 at 6:01
  • 1
    You should edit this additional information into the question (as comments are not permanent).
    – KillingTime
    Commented Mar 13, 2020 at 6:08
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    From Oxford Dictionaries: (especially in legal preambles) taking into consideration the fact that. It's just formal legalese, not to be used in ordinary speech or writing. Commented Mar 13, 2020 at 8:32

1 Answer 1


This use of whereas is well defined in Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary:

  1. law : since it is true that — usually used at the beginning of a statement in an official document

    Whereas the citizens of the state of Virginia have a right to know that…

However, that is not the normal use of whereas, which that dictionary gives first:

  1. — used to make a statement that describes how two people, groups, etc., are different
    • Some of these species have flourished, whereas others have struggled.
    • Whereas many people have supported the proposal, others have opposed it very strongly.
    • He has brown eyes whereas his children have green eyes.

I would wholeheartedly recommend not using the "law" meaning of whereas. It's highly specialised and only used in those circumstances. The "contrast" use of whereas is far more common.

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