10 Formal Synonyms for “Pros and Cons”

So, you want to list the pros and cons of something in your writing.

But you’re a little worried that “pros and cons” itself might not be the most formal choice.

Luckily, you have options.

This article will show you another word for “pros and cons” to help your writing sound more formal and engaging.

Is It Formal to Say “Pros and Cons”?

It is formal to say “pros and cons.” It’s a great way to talk about the positives and negatives of something.

You can use it in business and academic contexts.

For instance, you can list the pros and cons of a project or task in the workplace (a business context).

You can also include it in an essay (an academic context) to explain the positives and negatives of something.

Check out this email sample to learn more about it:

Dear All,

I would like you to review the following document to learn the pros and cons of the project. I’m so proud of the work you put in.

Best wishes,
Danny Bradshaw

You can also review this essay sample:

I have compiled a list of the pros and cons to show you more about what’s expected here.


  • It’s a formal way to list positives and negatives.
  • It shows you’ve weighed up all the outcomes of a situation.


  • It’s a bit generic.
  • Some people don’t like the short form of the words.

So, “pros and cons” is clearly a great phrase to use in your writing. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a few alternatives ready to help you mix things up.

Keep reading to learn another way to say “pros and cons.” We’ve gathered some of the best alternatives to help you expand on your vocabulary.

What to Say Instead of “Pros and Cons”

  • Advantages and disadvantages
  • Benefits and drawbacks
  • Positives and negatives
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Merits and demerits
  • Virtues and faults
  • Upsides and downsides
  • Assets and liabilities
  • Pluses and minuses
  • Gains and losses

1. Advantages and Disadvantages

First, we recommend using “advantages and disadvantages” instead of “pros and cons.”

Talking about these is a great way to let someone know that you’ve weighed up both options.

It’s formal and direct, making it clear what you’re talking about. Try using it when emailing an employee who’s curious about a promotion.

Feel free to review this email sample to learn more about it:

Dear Jack,

I have looked into the advantages and disadvantages of considering you for this position. However, I still don’t have an answer for you.

Kind regards,
Nicola Jones

2. Benefits and Drawbacks

It’s also a good idea to use “benefits and drawbacks” instead of “pros and cons.”

This formal synonym works well when writing an essay. It shows that you’ve considered your options and would like to discuss the good with the bad to see what the reader makes of it.

We certainly think this is worth including in your writing. It’s direct and clear, which shows you’re happy to review or evaluate something.

You can also review these essay samples to give you more information:

There are plenty of benefits and drawbacks to these situations. But that shouldn’t stop you from pursuing the appropriate outcome.

The benefits and drawbacks can be severe. That’s why I know I have to be careful when completing this experiment.

3. Positives and Negatives

For something a little simpler, try “positives and negatives.”

Generally, this is a great way to keep the reader informed. Everyone knows what positives and negatives are.

So, using it in this way helps readers to keep on top of what you’re saying. It’s formal and direct.

Therefore, it’s a good choice in essays. After all, the best essays are the ones that have the easiest time keeping their readers engaged.

Here are some great examples to help you if you’re still unsure:

There are quite a few positives and negatives to consider right now. However, I’m willing to put the time into figuring it out.

I can see how the positives and negatives might affect the outcome. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to continue.

4. Strengths and Weaknesses

Another professional alternative to “pros and cons” is “strengths and weaknesses.”

We recommend including this in emails to clients. It shows you’ve weighed up the outcome of their proposal and would like to see what you can figure out from it.

It takes both the good and bad and shows them that you’ve thought things through.

This should fill a client with confidence in your ability. After all, it shows that you’re willing to review things until you have every outcome covered.

Also, feel free to review this email sample:

Dear Mr. Murphy,

I have looked at the strengths and weaknesses of your proposal. I believe with a bit of time, we can iron it out to perfect it.

Jack Jones

5. Merits and Demerits

You can use “merits and demerits” when writing an email to your team. It lets them know that you’ve been evaluating their performance lately during a team project.

It’s a great way to keep everyone accountable. It shows them that you have a few things to discuss with them and would like to see what they say.

Generally, this is an excellent choice because it keeps things professional yet sincere. So, it’ll let your team know that your checking in on them to see what they can do.

If you’re still stuck, check out this email example:

Dear Team,

I’m glad to see you are all considering the merits and demerits of this project. I don’t want things to go to waste.

Sean Locke

6. Virtues and Faults

It’s also smart to use “virtues and faults” instead of “pros and cons.”

This is an interesting and unique choice that’ll help your emails to stand out.

It’s still formal and correct. That’s what makes it so valuable when writing emails.

Try using it to impress a client. After all, it’ll show them that you’ve done your due diligence and looked into all the possible good and bad outcomes of a situation.

We highly recommend reviewing this email example if you still need help:

Dear Ms. Ryder,

I have looked into the virtues and faults before we get together on this. I think you’ll be happy with what I’ve discovered.

Best regards,
Benjamin Button

7. Upsides and Downsides

Another formal synonym for “pros and cons” is “upsides and downsides.”

Naturally, this synonym will help you to explore what’s positive and negative about a situation.

Feel free to use it when writing an essay and evaluating your options. It’s a great way to keep the reader engaged and let them know that you’ve thought about each outcome.

Here are some great examples to show you how it can work:

Of course, I have considered the upsides and downsides here. That’s why I know it’s worth pursuing this further.

The upsides and downsides are abundantly clear. We have to be careful moving forward if we don’t want them to interfere.

8. Assets and Liabilities

You should also try “assets and liabilities” instead of “pros and cons.” Sometimes, you can also use “assets” as a one-word variation without needing “liabilities.”

It’s a great way to be formal and direct. It shows that you’ve weighed up every option to try and help people understand the best (or worst outcomes).

Check out these examples if you’d like to learn more about it:

There are many assets and liabilities to consider here. I’m worried that we won’t know how to move forward with it.

I have looked into the assets and liabilities myself. I’ve also made it clear that I’m willing to help work through them.

9. Pluses and Minuses

Feel free to include “pluses and minuses” as a more simple yet formal alternative to “pros and cons.”

It’s a great synonym because it shows that you’ve weighed up the good and the bad. Generally, this allows you to describe your findings when emailing your boss.

Keeping things simple with “plus” and “minus” will help people to understand you. It shows you don’t want to use overly complicated language and would rather get your point across easily.

Also, feel free to review this email example:

Dear Mr. Howett,

I have considered the pluses and minuses and compiled a list to help you. Please review it and let me know your thoughts.

Best regards,
Damian Anthony

10. Gains and Losses

You can also write “gains and losses” instead of “pros and cons.”

It’s a great way to show you’ve evaluated both the good and the bad.

Generally, this is an effective way to let someone know what to expect from an outcome. It works well in a formal email that’s writing a comprehensive list of both results.

You can use it when emailing your team. It shows you’ve thought things through and would like them to review the “gains” and the “losses.”

Here is an email sample to show you how it works:

Dear All,

I have looked into the gains and losses from this event. I’m certain that it’s going to weigh more in our favor.

Best wishes,
Sean Dot