on the contrary

Meanwhile, ‘On the contrary’

Posted by on March 1st, 2020 | 0 comments | compare contrast, contrast, IELTS, signals, speaking, vocabulary, writing

Restaurant sales peaked on Friday. On the contrary, the restaurant gained its lowest earnings on Sunday.

If you are contrasting two things that are both true, do not use on the contrary. Use on the other hand, meanwhile, or while.

  • Restaurant sales peaked on Friday. Meanwhile, the restaurant gained its lowest earnings on Sunday.
  • Restaurant sales peaked on Friday, while the restaurant gained its lowest earnings on Sunday.
  • Restaurant sales peaked on Friday. On the other hand, the restaurant gained its lowest earnings on Sunday.
Note the punctuation of while and meanwhile (discussed in a previous post).

Use on the contrary to highlight information that is not correct:

  • Most people think that our restaurant is least busy on a Monday. On the contrary, Sunday evenings are the slowest.

When you use on the contrary there are two steps:

  1. Imply that an idea might not be true:
  • Most people think that our restaurant is least busy on a Monday.
  • (Here the phrase ‘most people think that’, shows that the information is not, or may not be true.)
  1. Give the true information:
  • On the contrary, Sunday evenings are the slowest.
  • (Here on the contrary is used to introduce the correct information.)

Summary

Remember that with on the contrary there is often an element of surprise. The true facts are not what we expect!

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