You will very likely need to make comparisons on IELTS!

This skill is required for both Speaking and Writing exams.

You need high level vocabulary to use for this.

Additionally, these each have different grammar structures you need to understand.

Today’s episode will show you how to use these.

You will then be ready to make comparisons on both IELTS Speaking and Writing!

Today’s question

We had a student send in the following question:

HI! I have a question about versus, whereas and as opposed to.

I’d like to know differences of nuance between them.

Can you replace versus, whereas and as opposed to when you put them in the right order?

Each of these are high level ways to compare.

  • versus
  • whereas
  • as opposed to

As this student mentioned, they do have nuances in their use.

When to make comparisons on IELTS

On IELTS Speaking, you are often asked directly to compare two things.

  • The past and present
  • The present and future
  • Different products
  • People
  • Locations

What is more, IELTS Writing topics often require comparisons.

This is especially true for Academic Task 1.

You will likely need to compare information on a graph or chart.

However, Task 2 topics can also require comparison.

#1: Versus

This is a high level word to use for contrasting information.

  • Versus: in contrast

The grammar is constructed as follows:

noun / verb-ing + versus + noun / verb-ing (relative clause)

  • Our sites are interactive, versus most sites that are static.
  • I prefer coffee versus tea.

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#2: Whereas

  • Whereas: while on the contrary

The grammar is as follows:

subject + verb (object), whereas + subject + verb (object)

  • Many offices are closed on the weekends, whereas we are open 7 days a week.

This can also go at the beginning of a sentence.

It is a good way to link clauses to create complex sentences.

#3: As opposed to

  • As opposed to: in contrast to

The grammar is:

Subject + verb (object), as opposed to noun / verb-ing (relative clause)

  • Our staff is all highly trained, as opposed to other clinics who hire many interns. 

“Versus” and “as opposed to” are interchangeable.

The grammar and meaning are the same.

However, “whereas” is not interchangeable with these.

This is because the grammar and meaning are both slightly different.

Should you focus on grammar?

There are a lot of variables when it comes to studying grammar for IELTS.

First of all, you must consider how much time you have to prepare.

It can take a year to improve from band 6 to band 7 grammar scores.

If you are short on time, focus instead on improving the other scores.

You can make progress on these in days!

It’s all about strategies and knowing what the Examiner is looking for!


You need high level vocabulary to make comparisons on IELTS.

There is a good chance you will need this skill on both Speaking and Writing.

When it comes to making comparisons, different words require different grammar.

They can also have slightly nuanced meaning.

It is vital that you are aware of how to use these on test day!

For all the strategies you need, sign up for 3 Keys IELTS!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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