on the other hand VERSUS on the contrary

English translation: explanation

12:48 Jun 19, 2003
English to English translations [Non-PRO]
English term or phrase: on the other hand VERSUS on the contrary
The above two phrases, which are quite commonly used in day to day English. These appear to be similar for a layman like me but since there are two phrases, there would be certainly a minute difference between the two.

I'll be thankful if you could explain the same alongwith some suitable examples.

Thanks
Rajesh
English translation:explanation
Explanation:
when you say...'on the other hand' you are usually comparing 2 situations, points of view open-mindedly before actually making a decision. Looking at both sides of the story
On the one hand we have X, on the other hand we have Y

'on the contrary' would imply that a situation/point of view has been suggested and the opposite/something completely different is deemed to apply.
X has been suggested, but Y applies.

on the other hand - 'open' situation
on the contrary - 'closed' situation

Is my take
Selected response from:

jerrie
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:25
Grading comment
Marvellous answer as usual!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
5 +11There's more than just a little difference;
David Moore
5 +2They are both quite similar yet to the contrary
Adel Aghdasi (X)
5 +2See explanation
Marion Burns
3 +4explanation
jerrie
3 +4V
Elenacb


  

Answers


4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +11
There's more than just a little difference;


Explanation:
"on the other hand" normally indicates the second of two alternative possibilites; "on the contrary" is usually by way of disputing an assertion made by someone else.

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Note added at 2003-06-19 12:54:28 (GMT)
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What can we do to help? We could give her some clothes. On the other hand, we could give her some money - you can\'t eat clothes....

\"I think that\'s a lovely colour\". \"Huh, on the contrary, it makes me sick!\"

David Moore
Local time: 11:25
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 864

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Sara Noss
3 mins

agree  Gayle Wallimann
11 mins

agree  J. Leo (X)
15 mins

agree  Attila Piróth
20 mins

agree  vixen
30 mins

agree  DGK T-I
54 mins

agree  virgotra: Quite right!
56 mins

agree  PCovs
2 hrs

agree  Bin Zhang
2 hrs

agree  Marie Scarano
6 hrs

agree  Сергей Лузан
2 days 1 hr
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4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +4
V


Explanation:
- on the other hand used when comparing different or opposite facts or ideas: On the one hand I want to sell the house, but on the other hand I can't bear the thought of moving.
© Pearson Education Limited 2000

- on the contrary used for showing that you disagree completely with what has just been said: It wasn't a good thing; on the contrary it was a huge mistake.
© Pearson Education Limited 2000


Elenacb
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:25
Native speaker of: Native in SlovakSlovak
PRO pts in pair: 20

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Sara Noss
4 mins
  -> Thank you

agree  DGK T-I
54 mins
  -> Thank you

agree  Kardi Kho
10 hrs

agree  Сергей Лузан
2 days 1 hr
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8 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +4
explanation


Explanation:
when you say...'on the other hand' you are usually comparing 2 situations, points of view open-mindedly before actually making a decision. Looking at both sides of the story
On the one hand we have X, on the other hand we have Y

'on the contrary' would imply that a situation/point of view has been suggested and the opposite/something completely different is deemed to apply.
X has been suggested, but Y applies.

on the other hand - 'open' situation
on the contrary - 'closed' situation

Is my take

jerrie
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:25
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 773
Grading comment
Marvellous answer as usual!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Refugio: An open and shut case has been made. Well said.
24 mins

agree  DGK T-I
50 mins

agree  PCovs: More good examples!
2 hrs

agree  Сергей Лузан: Spot on!
2 days 1 hr
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39 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +2
See explanation


Explanation:
"On the other hand" compares two possible alternatives that are not in opposition to one another. For example:

We could go away for our vacation this year. On the other hand, we could stay home and take day trips.


"On the contrary" compares two contrary or opposite conditions. Since "on the contrary" expresses disagreement, it most likely would be used in a dialogue between two people, for example:

He's such a fool!
On the contrary, he's quite intelligent!






Marion Burns
United States
Local time: 05:25
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 18

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  GoodWords: Another good and succint explanation.
21 mins

agree  Kardi Kho
10 hrs
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +2
They are both quite similar yet to the contrary


Explanation:
'On the other hand' is used to indicate contrasted points of view or argument.

E.g. "I could go and play football although, on the other hand, I could stay inside and do my work."

The word 'contrary' means opposite and the phrase 'on the contrary' is used to make a denial or contradiction more emphatic:

E.g. "I have nothing to do now, on the other hand, I have piles of work."

Another similar phrase using the same word is 'to the contrary' which denotes to the opposite effect:

E.g.1 "I will come on Mondy unless you write to the contrary, telling me not to come."

E.g.2 "I will continue to believe it until I get proof to the contrary, proof that it is not true."

Adel Aghdasi (X)

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  eck1980: equivalent answer correct procedure/given answer
2 hrs
  -> thank you

agree  Kardi Kho: I think I'll come on Mondy too. ;)
7 hrs
  -> tusdy...wednsdy....and thursdy aswell!!!
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