1. Writing about advantages
advantage noun [countable] a good feature that something has, which makes it better, more useful than other things:
• The great advantage of digital cameras is that there is no film to process.
• The advantage of using a specialist firm is that the people who work there have years of experience.
• One of the big advantages of this type of engine is that it is smaller and lighter than a conventional petrol engine.
• The university has the advantage of being one of the oldest and best respected in the country.
• The movement of the sea is predictable. This gives wave power a distinct advantage over (=an obvious advantage compared to) wind power.
• Despite a few problems with the design, the car’s advantages clearly outweigh its disadvantages. (=the problems are not enough to stop it being a good car) benefit noun [countable] a feature of something that has a good effect on people’s lives:
• Regular exercise has many benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease.
• Modern technology has brought great benefits to mankind.
• There has been a great deal of research into the potential benefits of using genetically modified crops.
merit noun [countable] a good feature that something has, which you consider when you are deciding whether it is the best choice:
• The committee will consider the merits of the proposals.
• In her book, she discusses the relative merits of the two political systems. (=she compares the features that they have)
• The merits and demerits of (=the good and bad features of) alternative funding systems were widely discussed in the newspapers.
• The chairman saw no great merit in this suggestion. (=he did not think that it was a good idea)
good point noun [countable] a good feature that something has:
• One of the good points about the car is that it is easy to drive.
• Each system has its good and bad points.
plus point noun [countable] a good feature that something has:
• The small but powerful battery is another of the camera’s many plus points.
• The estate agent’s leaflet said a major plus point was the recently modernized kitchen.
the good / great / best thing about used when mentioning a good feature of something:
• The great thing about living in a city is that you can go shopping at almost any hour of the day or night.
• Her wicked sense of humour was the best thing about her.
• The good thing about cycling is that you don’t have to worry about getting stuck in a traffic jam.
STUDY NOTE: Grammar
the good/great/best thing about is rather informal. Don’t use it in formal essays.
the beauty of something is that used when you want to emphasize that something has a very good or useful feature:
• The beauty of the design is that it is so simple.
2. Writing about disadvantages
disadvantage noun [countable] a bad feature that something has, which makes it less good, less useful than other things:
• The main disadvantage of this book is its price.
• These vaccines have two serious disadvantages. Firstly, they are not 100% effective, and secondly, they are expensive to make.
• A major disadvantage of using large quantities of chemicals is that they quickly get absorbed into soil.
drawback noun [countable] a disadvantage which makes you think that something is not so good, even though it has other advantages:
• The major drawback of this method is that it can be very time-consuming.
• Aluminium is very light and also very strong. Its main drawback is that it cools down very rapidly.
• Summer in the Scottish islands can be beautiful. The only drawback is the weather, which can be very changeable.
downside noun [singular] the disadvantage of a situation that in most other ways seems good or enjoyable:
• The downside of running your own business is that you are responsible if anything goes wrong.
• Everyone wants to be rich and famous, but it does have its downside.
• Most comfort eaters enjoy what they eat, but the downside is that they soon start to put on weight.
bad point noun [countable] a bad feature that something has:
• There are good points and bad points about single sex schools.
• For all its bad points, and there are many, it is still the best software system of its kind available
1. Writing about advantages