Some time ago, I was participating in a course for academic paper writing in which the professor cautioned the students against using while instead of whereas. It was surprising for me; I supposed that it is a completely acceptable point in English.

Is it really recommended in academic writing to use whereas rather than while?

  • Whereas is the more formal choice there. It isn't pretentious.
    – TimR
    Mar 24, 2015 at 12:14
  • @TRomano The pretentious-writing tag was my bad. I guess I got a little overzealous when I was adding tags. The only pretension is the OP's teacher insisting that while is not "good enough" for academic writing. Whereas is a perfectly fine and useful word.
    – pyobum
    Mar 24, 2015 at 13:53

1 Answer 1


Both while and whereas are perfectly fine in academic writing. The important thing to remember, is that while has another meaning relating to time. It says that one action takes place at the same time as another. If you aren't careful, it can sometimes be ambiguous as to which meaning is intended:

  • While Obama introduced Medicaid, Bush started two wars.

Here the sentence could mislead the reader for a second, because it sounds as if Obama and Bush were doing these things at the same time. If there is any chance of being misunderstood or making your sentence a bit more difficult to understand, don't use while or whilst.

  • 1
    I have thought IT was informatuion technology
    – Ooker
    Mar 25, 2015 at 12:28

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