toefl guide

TOEFL Writing Essential Words - Part 1 - advantage and advantageous

Madison Oster October 12th, 2021

In today’s post, you are going to learn the words advantage and advantageous.We are going to talk about their meanings, what prepositions to use with them, and common collocations. By the end of this post, you will know how to use them properly in your TOEFL speaking and writing tasks.

Okay! The definition of the noun advantage reads as follows: An advantage is a quality or condition that puts something in a favorable or superior position. Simply said, an advantage is a characteristic that makes something better than something else.

We often use "advantage" to talk about the benefits of a thing or person. For instance, the following three sentences use the  word"advantage" to describe the benefits of living in a big city:

  1. The advantage of living in a big city is that there is plenty of entertainment.
  2. One advantage of living in a big city is that there is plenty of entertainment.
  3. One of the advantages of living in a big city is that there is plenty of entertainment.

However, only if the "advantage" is used in the very beginning of a sentence we say ‘advantage of something’. When using expletive constructions like “There are/is” it would sound wrong or unnatural to say “There are many advantages of living in a big city’. Many students make this mistake. Here you should use the prepositions in/to as in the following two sentences:

  1. There are many advantages to living in a big city
  2. There are many advantages in living in a big city.

Often we simply paraphrase here and say:

  1. Living in a big city has many advantages

Okay! Now! If we want to specify the alternatives we are comparing to, we normally use the preposition over as in “have an advantage OVER sth.” Since advantage refers to a position superior to another thing, it is kind of natural to use OVER here to say that is is higher than the other thing. So ‘A has an advantage over B’. means that A is in a favourable or superior position compared to B. This phrase is commonly used when talking about competition in business, sports or even evolution.

Let me give you some examples here:

  1. Our company has an advantage over our competitors.
  2. The New York Knicks have a clear advantage over Miami Heat
  3. Humans have an evolutionary advantage over other animals.

Instead of using  “to have an advantage” all the time you can say “to be at an advantage” as well. In this case, how could you change the three sentences? We can change the phrasing as follows:

  1. Our company is at an advantage over our competitors.
  2. The New York Knicks are at a clear advantage over Miami Heat
  3. Humans are at an evolutionary advantage over other animals.

Especially in business, "advantage" is often used together with the adjective “competitive” to highlight the competitive environment businesses are in. For example, if you say

  1. Our company has a competitive advantage over Google.


There are many other verbs which can be used together with advantage. For instance, you can “gain an advantage”, “win an advantage”, and “develop an advantage” or “Sth. can give or offer you an advantage” and you can “take advantage of sth.”

To make these more specific, let’s have a look at some more examples.

  1. Our company gained/won a competitive advantage over our competitors by reducing costs.
  2. During the process of evolution, humans developed an intellectual advantage over other animals.
  3. By reducing costs we could develop a competitive advantage over our competitors.
  4. My English skills gave/offered me a clear advantage over other applicants.
  5. You should take advantage of all the resources offers to improve your English.

"Advantage" is often used with “to” as well, as in the following phrases.

  1. To one’s advantage
  2. To advantage

If something is ‘to one’s advantage’ it means that something gives an advantage or is beneficial to someone. Here are example sentences

  1. The ice cream store was able to turn the hot weather to its advantage.  
  2. It is to your advantage to invest wisely.
  3. The new regulations will work to our advantage.

And then there is ‘to advantage’. To say that sth. shows the best of somebody/something. For example,

  1. The photograph showed him to advantage.
  2. Her shoes showed off her legs to advantage
  3. Plan your space to its best advantage

Okay! Now you know how to use the word advantage. Let’s shortly talk about its adjective form “advantageous”. “Advantageous” means good or useful in a particular situation. It is often used with the preposition ‘to‘, for example,

  1. The new tax system is advantageous to higher-rate taxpayers.
  2. Living in university dormitories is advantageous to students.
  3. The company believes the new location is advantageous to the growth of its business.

Alright! This is the end of the post. I hope you enjoyed learning about the various usages of the word "advantage". As this word will for pretty sure pop up in your TOEFL and IELTS exam, we suggest you familiarize yourself with this word. If you have any questions, feel free to let us know in the comments below.



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