Thinking Outside the Grammar Box: Using Whereas to Begin a Sentence

Understanding the Role of “Whereas”

Introduction to “Whereas”

“Whereas” is a conjunction that plays a unique role in sentence structure and is commonly used in formal writing. It serves as a contrasting or introductory element, setting up a comparison or establishing a background context for the main clause that follows. The use of “whereas” can add depth and nuance to your writing, allowing you to express contrasting ideas or provide additional information.

Exploring its Meaning and Usage

The word “whereas” is derived from the Middle English word “whereas,” which means “in view of the fact that” or “considering that.” When used in a sentence, “whereas” introduces a subordinate clause that sets up a contrast or provides a background for the main clause.

The subordinate clause introduced by “whereas” typically presents a contrasting idea or establishes a condition that is different from the main clause. This contrast helps to highlight the differences between two concepts, actions, or situations, allowing for clearer communication and a more nuanced understanding.

For example:

  • “John loves playing basketball, whereas his sister prefers soccer.”
  • “The company’s profits increased significantly this year, whereas last year they experienced a decline.”

In both examples, the use of “whereas” serves to introduce a contrasting idea. It highlights the different preferences of John and his sister in the first sentence and emphasizes the difference in profit trends between the two years in the second sentence.

It’s important to note that “whereas” is typically used in more formal or academic writing contexts. In everyday conversation or informal writing, alternative conjunctions like “while” or “but” are often used to express similar contrasts. However, in formal writing, “whereas” adds a level of precision and clarity to the sentence structure.

Understanding the role and usage of “whereas” allows you to enhance your writing by effectively conveying contrasts or providing important background information. Whether you are writing a legal document, an academic paper, or any other formal piece, the proper use of “whereas” can elevate the clarity and sophistication of your writing.

Starting Sentences with “Whereas”

When it comes to sentence structure, many people wonder if it is grammatically correct to start a sentence with the word “whereas.” In this section, we will explore the grammatical correctness of using “whereas” at the beginning of a sentence and provide examples to illustrate its usage.

Is it Grammatically Correct?

Yes, it is grammatically correct to start a sentence with the word “whereas.” “Whereas” is a conjunction that introduces a contrasting or qualifying statement. It helps to establish a relationship between two clauses or ideas, highlighting the differences or conditions between them. Starting a sentence with “whereas” allows for a clear and concise expression of contrast or comparison.

Examples of Using “Whereas” to Begin a Sentence

Here are a few examples that demonstrate how “whereas” can be used at the beginning of a sentence to introduce contrast:

  1. Whereas some people prefer to work in a team, others thrive in solitude.
  2. Whereas the first experiment yielded conclusive results, the second one showed inconclusive outcomes.
  3. Whereas traditional medicine focuses on treating symptoms, holistic medicine aims to address the underlying causes of illness.

In each of these examples, “whereas” sets up a contrast between two ideas, highlighting the differences or opposing viewpoints. This usage allows for a clear and structured presentation of information.

By using “whereas” to start a sentence, you can effectively convey contrasting or qualifying information, providing a strong foundation for your ideas. However, it’s important to use this conjunction appropriately and maintain proper punctuation and capitalization. To learn more about punctuation rules when using “whereas” and other conjunctions, refer to our article on comma after “whereas”.

Remember that the usage of “whereas” should align with the overall style and tone of your writing. In more formal contexts, such as legal or academic writing, starting sentences with “whereas” is commonly seen. However, in everyday writing or informal settings, it may be more appropriate to use alternative expressions or sentence structures.

Now that we have explored the grammatical correctness of starting sentences with “whereas,” let’s dive into the specific contexts where this conjunction is commonly used in formal and everyday writing.

Using “Whereas” in Formal Writing

“Whereas” is commonly used in formal writing to introduce contrasting or comparative statements. It adds a level of formality and structure to the text, making it particularly useful in legal, legislative, academic, and research contexts. Let’s explore how “whereas” is utilized in these formal writing settings.

Legal and Legislative Context

In legal and legislative documents, “whereas” is often employed to introduce important background information or to establish the context for a particular statement or resolution. It is commonly found in contracts, agreements, and statutes. By using “whereas,” legal professionals can carefully outline the reasons, considerations, or facts that led to a specific provision or decision.

Here is an example of how “whereas” can be used in a legal context:

Whereas, the parties involved have agreed to enter into this contract for the purpose of outlining their respective rights and obligations.

In this instance, “whereas” sets the stage for the contract by providing the underlying rationale or background information.

Academic and Research Writing

In academic and research writing, “whereas” is often employed to introduce contrasting or comparative elements in a systematic and logical manner. It allows authors to present different viewpoints, theories, or evidence before drawing conclusions or making arguments. By using “whereas,” researchers can establish connections between different aspects of their study and provide a clear structure to their work.

Here is an example of how “whereas” can be used in an academic context:

Whereas previous studies have focused on the effects of X, this research aims to investigate the impact of Y on Z.

In this example, “whereas” is used to highlight a shift in focus or a departure from previous research, providing a logical progression for the study.

By utilizing “whereas” in formal writing, writers can effectively convey complex ideas, provide background information, and establish a structured framework for their arguments. However, it’s important to use “whereas” appropriately and in moderation, ensuring that it enhances the clarity and coherence of the text. For more information on proper punctuation and capitalization when using “whereas,” refer to our article on comma-after-here.

Using “Whereas” in Everyday Writing

While “whereas” is commonly associated with formal writing, it can also be effectively utilized in everyday writing to add contrast and comparison, as well as to express cause and effect. Understanding how to incorporate “whereas” in these contexts can enhance the clarity and coherence of your sentences.

Adding Contrast and Comparison

One way to use “whereas” in everyday writing is to introduce a contrast or comparison between two ideas or situations. By using “whereas” in this manner, you can highlight the differences between the two elements being compared.

For example:

  • “John prefers hot tea, whereas Mary enjoys iced coffee.”
  • “The previous model had limited features, whereas the new version offers advanced functionalities.”

In both of these examples, the use of “whereas” emphasizes the contrast between the preferences or characteristics being discussed. This helps to convey a clear distinction between the two ideas and provides a smooth transition between them.

Expressing Cause and Effect

In addition to contrasting and comparing ideas, “whereas” can also be used to express cause and effect relationships in everyday writing. By using “whereas” to introduce the cause or reason, you can effectively connect two related clauses and demonstrate the cause and effect relationship between them.

For example:

  • “She worked hard and achieved success, whereas her colleague lacked dedication and struggled.”
  • “The team prepared extensively for the presentation, whereas the lack of preparation resulted in a poor performance.”

In these sentences, “whereas” is used to establish the cause or reason in the first clause, while the second clause highlights the effect or outcome. This usage of “whereas” helps to provide a clear and logical structure to the sentences, enabling the reader to understand the cause and effect relationship being conveyed.

When using “whereas” in everyday writing, it’s important to maintain proper punctuation and capitalization. Typically, a comma is placed after “whereas” when it is used to introduce a contrasting or comparing element. However, no comma is necessary when “whereas” is used to express cause and effect. For more information on comma usage, check out our article on comma-after-here.

By incorporating “whereas” in your everyday writing, you can effectively add contrast and comparison, as well as express cause and effect relationships. This enhances the clarity and coherence of your sentences and allows you to convey your ideas with precision. Remember to use “whereas” appropriately and maintain proper punctuation to ensure the effectiveness of your writing.

Guidelines for Using “Whereas”

When using the word “whereas” to begin a sentence, it’s important to follow certain guidelines to ensure proper punctuation, capitalization, and maintain clarity and coherence within your writing.

Proper Punctuation and Capitalization

  1. Comma Usage: When starting a sentence with “whereas,” it is customary to follow it with a comma. This helps to separate the introductory clause from the main clause of the sentence. For example:
  • “Whereas, the weather forecast predicted rain, we decided to bring umbrellas.”
  1. Capitalization: As with any sentence, the first letter of the first word following “whereas” should be capitalized. However, if the subsequent text after “whereas” is a dependent clause or a list, the capitalization rules may vary. Ensure consistency and adhere to the specific grammatical rules applicable to the sentence structure.
  • “Whereas, she enjoys reading novels, attending book club meetings, and writing reviews.”

Maintaining Clarity and Coherence

  1. Clear Contrast or Comparison: When using “whereas” to introduce a sentence, it is essential to create a clear contrast or comparison between the introductory clause and the main clause. This helps to establish a logical and coherent flow of ideas.
  • “Whereas the previous study focused on the effects of caffeine on sleep, this research explores the impact of caffeine on cognitive function.”
  1. Grammatical Agreement: Ensure that the subject and verb agreement is maintained between the introductory clause and the main clause of the sentence. This ensures grammatical correctness and clarity.
  • “Whereas she prefers tea, her sister enjoys coffee.”

By following these guidelines, you can effectively use “whereas” to begin a sentence while maintaining proper punctuation, capitalization, and clarity in your writing. Remember to proofread your sentences to ensure that they align with the grammatical rules and achieve the desired impact on your readers.