"The advantage(s) of X over Y are numerous" is a perfectly valid and common phrase (as far as I know, at least). But what's the equivalent phrase for disadvantage(s)?

Each of the candidates I could think of felt non-ideal:

  • "The disadvantage(s) of X over Y are numerous"
  • "The disadvantage(s) of X against Y are numerous"
  • "The disadvantage(s) of X versus Y are numerous"

The Ngram didn't yield overly clear-cut results either, and all of the given expressions were much rarer than the expression "advantage(s) over".

  • 2
    The problem with using X over Y is that, in mathematics, X over Y is commonly used to express division of X by Y so referring to "the advantages of X over Y" is ambiguous. I'd use "versus" myself
    – BoldBen
    Commented Aug 15, 2022 at 13:51
  • What makes you think that's about phrasing, rather than context? "… advantages…" might seem more likely but how is it more grammatical, or syntactically better? If "… disadvantages…" has a problem, is it not that most of us tend to start from the positive, and compare the negative to that? Has that to do with grammar or semantics, or merely idiom? Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 21:52

1 Answer 1


“The disadvantages of X compared with Y are numerous”

will serve.

But as is often the case, something else is better. That something else, I suggest, is:

“X has numerous disadvantages that Y does not have (or lacks)”

Why? Because it is the direct way to express the idea.

  • 1
    If you want to list a lot of disadvantages your second example doesn't work well.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Aug 15, 2022 at 14:53
  • @StuartF — Perhaps. But that wasn't the question. Obviously one choses a structure that suits the circumstances rather than treating English as a mathematical structure that should be bent to all situations regardless. Too many questions on this list invite one into a straitjacket of that sort.
    – David
    Commented Aug 15, 2022 at 15:35
  • Compared with is indeed a good alternative to the formulations that appear in the question, but the second suggestion in this answer strikes me as problematic. It creates an impression that the disadvantages of X and Y are measured, in the first instance, relative to something third, rather than directly relative to each other.
    – jsw29
    Commented Aug 15, 2022 at 18:48
  • @jsw29 — I think I was thinking of a score card rather than a third comparator — a list of positive attributes (advantages) and negative attributes (disadvantages). I suppose the question is whether this is valid — whether “disadvantage” should always be used in a comparison. At the moment on my phone I’m not sure. Will consider.
    – David
    Commented Aug 15, 2022 at 19:58

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