How to Use "On the Contrary" Properly with Meaning and Examples

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What Does "On the Contrary" Mean?

"At the contrary" or "on the contrary" is an English expression used to present an opposing viewpoint or a contrasting idea to the previously stated one.

It is a versatile phrase employed in various situations to emphasize a different perspective or correct a misconception.

How to Use "On the Contrary"?

It indicates a disagreement with the previous statement or the opposite viewpoint. Let's explore how "on the contrary" can be used in sentences.

Contrasting Ideas

The most common usage of "on the contrary" is to introduce a contradictory statement after a claim has been made. 


  • He believed the task would be easy; on the contrary, it proved challenging.
  • The customer expected the product to be of high quality; on the contrary, it was poorly manufactured and prone to defects.
  • Many assumed the concert tickets would be expensive; on the contrary, they were surprisingly affordable and within budget.
  • The initial reviews praised the movie's storyline; on the contrary, the acting performances received mixed reactions from critics.

Correcting Misunderstandings

The phrase can also be used to clarify a misunderstanding or misconception.


  • The rumors suggested she was unhappy in her job, but on the contrary, she loved her work.
  • The media portrayed the situation as chaotic and out of control; on the contrary, the authorities had everything well under control.
  • Some assumed she did not know the subject matter; on the contrary, she was well-informed and had conducted extensive research on the topic.
  • The gossip hinted at a falling out between the two friends; on the contrary, they had been busy with their respective lives and had not spoken in a while.

Disproving Assumptions

When challenging an assumption or a preconceived notion, "on the contrary" is the perfect phrase.


  • Many thought the project would fail, but on the contrary, it was a resounding success.
  • The critics assumed the new restaurant would lack originality, but on the contrary, it offered a unique and innovative dining experience.
  • People believed that the team's star player was their sole strength; on the contrary, the team's success resulted from solid collaboration among all members.
  • There was a perception that the novel would be predictable and clichéd; on the contrary, it presented a refreshing and unexpected plot twist.

Expressing an Unexpected Outcome

You can use this phrase to indicate an outcome that is the opposite of what was expected.


  • The weather forecast predicted rain all day; however, on the contrary, the sun shone brightly.
  • The team anticipated a challenging match against the top-ranked opponents; on the contrary, they secured an effortless victory.
  • Despite the lack of experience, the young entrepreneur's business flourished; on the contrary, it quickly became a thriving enterprise.
  • The initial data suggested a decline in sales for the new product; on the contrary, it experienced a significant surge in demand.

Introducing a Different Point of View

This phrase can be used to introduce a different perspective or opinion.


  • He thought she would be upset with the decision, but on the contrary, she fully supported it.
  • The majority believed that the new policy would hinder progress; on the contrary, some saw it as an opportunity for positive change.
  • While many thought the idea was impractical, on the contrary, a few saw its potential for revolutionizing the industry.
  • The prevailing belief was that the project was too ambitious to succeed; on the contrary, a minority had unwavering faith in its feasibility.


Improper Use of "On the Contrary"

Let's take a look at some examples of improper use of "On the Contrary" in sentences:

  • Incorrect: The cake was delicious. On the contrary, the cake was delicious too.

Issue: Both statements express the same idea, so using "on the contrary" here is unnecessary and redundant.


  • Incorrect: She enjoys swimming in the ocean. On the contrary, she also likes swimming in the sea.

Issue: "Ocean" and "sea" are synonymous in this context, so the second statement doesn't offer a contrasting viewpoint.


  • Incorrect: Mark claimed he had never been to Europe before. On the contrary, he visited France last year.

Issue: The second statement supports and confirms Mark's claim rather than providing an opposing idea.


  • Incorrect: Our team won the match, but on the contrary, we lost the game.

Issue: This phrase is inappropriate here because it contradicts the first statement stating that the team won the match. It creates confusion instead of contrast.

Tips for Properly Using "On the Contrary

To use it effectively, one must consider the context, provide a clear contrast, and maintain coherence in communication. Here are some essential tips for adequately using "on the contrary" in your sentences.

  • Understand the context: Grasp the meaning and intention of the previous statement to respond appropriately with a contrasting viewpoint.
  • Be clear and concise: Use this phrase when you want to make a clear and straightforward contrast between ideas.
  • Maintain proper tone: When using "on the contrary," ensure the tone remains respectful and objective, especially in formal discussions or writing.
  • Practice with different scenarios: Familiarize yourself with using "on the contrary" by practicing with various sentence structures and contexts.


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