For some strange reason, I feel this overwhelming urge to put a semicolon before and a comma after "whereas." I've done a little research online, and it appears that "whereas" is just a plain ol' conjunction like "and" and "but." I was thinking it's like "however," but maybe I'm wrong. Can't find anything about it.

There's a great site about conjunctions

Unfortunately, "whereas" isn't even listed on the page. It's not listed under coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions, conjunctive adverbs (which is what I thought it was), or subordinating conjunctions.

Here's my examples (I know how we court reporters like our examples):

"And Miller does include the plans and permits in his, whereas the other two do not."

"That appears to be one of the big items, whereas the two adjusters do not include the foundation removal."

Help. Talk me down from the ledge. Tell me why there's no semicolon before "whereas" and why I'm thinking there should be.

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All I can say is that the examples I've seen in dictionary sites use a comma and treat whereas in the same was as "although." The semicolon separates the comparisons too much. Take my hand, dear, and step away from the edge.
To answer your question, "whereas" is a subordinating conjunction. That means there is no comma after it. Subordinating conjunctions link clauses so that one clause is incorporated as a modifying part of another clause.

Although Martha is afraid of heights, she skydives.
For example, the subordinating conjunction "although" makes the clause "she is afraid of heights" subordinate to the clause "Martha dives". This subordinate clause tells something about the conditions under which Martha does her skydiving. It is actually an adverbial modifier that can be moved within the sentence. Subordinating conjunctions precede modifying clauses that can be moved to different places in a sentence. A COMMA DOES NOT FOLLOW. Hope this helps.
Here's why I say no commas in your examples:
1. it's spoken without a hesitation
2. whereas is not a conjunction
3. less is more



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