1 2
What is the difference between "On the contrary" and "In contrast"? If they are in fact different, could you please provide some examples to highlight the differences.

Thanks in advance
Veteran Member7,658
New2grammarWhat is the difference between "On the contrary" and "In contrast"? If they are in fact different, could you please provide some examples to highlight the differences.

Thanks in advance

Although I am poor, I'm extremely happy. On the contrary, John is extremely rich, but he is very unhappy.

In this instance, we can come to a conclusion that John and I are in sharp contrast.

Full Member246
Anonymous:
I know this is an old post, but I think there's a need for another answer.

We use "on the contrary" only when dealing with opinions.
We use it when we've presented an opinion to the reader but wish to oppose it.
For example:

"Some people say that older people are wiser. On the contrary, I've met many foolish grandparents, and a number of very sensible young adults."

"In contrast" can be used very generally, and is more useful for descriptions.
For example:
"Joshua was a foolish old man. In contrast, his son was thoughtful and hardworking."
(It happens that these descriptions are both opinions, but they're both my opinions.
I'm not opposing an opinion, so I don't use "on the contrary".)

As this link suggests, a useful test is to ask, "Can I substitute 'That's wrong!' at the beginning of the second sentence?" If the answer is "Yes", then you can use "On the contrary". Otherwise, use "In contrast".
Anonymous:
Excellent explaination! Thanks! It helps.
Anonymous:
wonderful answer ! thanks a lot Emotion: smile
Anonymous:
My research interest is still very broad. But you never tried to narrow my view. On the contrary, the crazier the idea, the better you liked it! .........So, is this correct?
Anonymous:
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think here it should be "In contrast," instead of "On the contrary,".
Anonymous:
To answer the "on the contrary" vs."in contrast" question about the following sentence, let's find the opinion that the speaker wants to refute or say is wrong. We need to read between the lines a bit to find it. It is one opinion a person might have, but it might be wrong however...

My research interest is still very broad. But you never tried to narrow my view. On the contrary, the crazier the idea, the better you liked it! ..So, is this correct?

Let's fill in the logic gaps a bit. In interactions we are always making assumptions about what others think and testing these assumptions against what they say and do.

"My research interest is still very broad. [Possible opinion: You might have thought that I should narrow my research interest.] [Your actions tell be different...] But you never tried to narrow my view. [... so that's wrong, you don't think I should narrow my interest.] On the contrary, the crazier the idea, the better you liked it! [From these actions I conclude that your true opinion is that a broad approach is worthwhile.]

Restatement: Rather than expecting me to narrow my research interest, you on the contrary encouraged my wild ideas.

Conclusion:

  • Use "contrary" when opinions, behaviors, or actions occur opposite to expectation.
    Example: Contrary to expection, some rocks do float.

  • Use "on the contrary" to reverse a negative statement, to say "not only is that wrong, it's actually the opposite". Example: You never punished me for admitting I'd done something wrong. On the contrary, you praised my honesty.
Anonymous:
Nicely done.
Show more
Live chat
Registered users can join here