Academic writing often involves comparing and contrasting arguments or opinions. There are many words you can use for this, each with their own specific meanings.\nHowever, to ensure your written work is clear and compelling, it\u2019s important to pick the right word for the occasion. In this post, we introduce three comparison words you might want to use: \u201calthough,\u201d \u201cwhereas\u201d and \u201cdespite.\u201d\n\nAlthough (But)\nThe term \u201calthough\u201d is often a synonym for \u201cbut,\u201d used when qualifying a statement or setting up a contrast or comparison. An example of a comparison might be:\nThis shirt is a good color, although that one is a better fit.\nAnd, in terms of introducing qualifying information, we could say:\nI own a car, although it is being repaired at the moment.\nHere, \u201calthough\u201d is used to qualify my car ownership with its current unavailability.\nSince \u201calthough\u201d is a subordinating conjunction, the independent clause (\u201cI own a car\u201d) and dependent clause (\u201cit\u2019s being repaired\u201d) are separated with a comma.\nThis also applies if \u201calthough\u201d appears at the beginning of a sentence, where it's equivalent of saying \u201cin spite of the fact that\u201d:\nAlthough I own a car, it is being repaired at the moment.\n\nWhereas (By Contrast)\nAnother subordinating conjunction, \u201cwhereas\u201d means \u201cin contrast to\u201d or \u201cwhile at the same time.\u201d It\u2019s used for comparing two ideas, opinions or facts:\nI\u2019m a big Black Sabbath fan, whereas Harry is more into Justin Bieber.\nIn the above, \u201cwhereas\u201d is used to highlight differing musical tastes. It can also be used at the start of a sentence to foreground the contrast:\nWhereas fossil fuels produce a lot of air pollution, solar energy is comparatively clean.\n\nDespite (Notwithstanding)\nThe preposition \u201cdespite\u201d means \u201cregardless of\u201d or \u201cwithout being prevented by\u201d and sets something up as unexpected or defying convention:\nSheila ate her lunch outdoors despite the heavy rain.\nThe term \u201cdespite\u201d here implies Sheila\u2019s decision to eat outside in the rain is surprising. Another alternative to \u201cdespite\u201d is the phrase \u201cin spite of\u201d:\nIn spite of problems during testing, we believe our results are conclusive.\n\u201cDespite\u201d is generally preferred in academic writing due to being more succinct, though \u201cin spite of\u201d can be used to avoid repetition.