advantage vs virtue

A-friend

Senior Member
Persian (Farsi)
According to the dictionary claims,

Advantage means:

A good feature that makes something better than similar things.
And also, virtue means:

a. The virtue of something is an advantage or benefit that it has, especially in comparison with something else.
b. A virtue is a good quality or way of behaving.
Despite the wording style of the dictionaries, I don't see much difference between these two words in one of the following sentences, but it strikes me as if they cannot be swapped in two cases! Please have a look on my examples and their relevant explanations:

  1. Your advantage / virtue over him is your higher educational degree.
Explanations: here I think that "virtue" doesn't work here, while it can only refer to the "moral" aspects of someone.

  1. One of the advantages / virtues of the electricity over gas is the lack of fumes.
Explanations: here the two nouns can be used interchangeably for me.

  1. Patience is one of his advantages / virtues.
Explanations: I think these two words do not convey the same message here, while the stand-alone virtue alludes to the moral quality of someone that put they in a higher position comparing another person/people and "advantage" cannot indicate such a message by itself, unless I change it to "moral advantage".

Do you confirm my interpretation in the above-mentioned sentences? If not, then please let me know why?

Thank you.
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Advantage is generally more neutral in meaning than virtue is, A-friend.

    Virtue typically implies moral superiority or the idea that something has been earned through hard work and merit rather than inherited naturally at birth with no special effort from the person who possesses the virtue.
     

    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    Advantage is generally more neutral in meaning than virtue is, A-friend.

    Virtue typically implies moral superiority or the idea that something has been earned through hard work and merit rather than inherited naturally at birth with no special effort from the person who possesses the virtue.
    Aha, thank you Owlman5. Agreed.
    I believe that "virtue" often is used with the connotation of "a moral superiority" and although there are other realms in which this word can be used, but there might be some more suitable alternatives to be used instead. Do you confirm my interpretation? :)
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I suppose that people might use virtue with no idea of moral superiority in their use of the word, but I don't use it that way.

    I would find its use a little misleading and distracting if it were merely intended to be some variant of advantage that was not supposed to convey an idea of special merit. To me, virtue says something positive about a person's character.

    In talk about the virtues of some machine or object, I understand the word to have a loose, figurative meaning rather than a strictly literal one.
     
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