on the contrary

By | January 23, 2017
on the contrary
I am truly free only when all human beings, men and women, are equally free. The freedom of other men, far from negating or limiting my freedom, is, on the contrary, its necessary premise and confirmation.
Sono veramente libero solo quando tutti gli esseri umani, uomini e donne, sono ugualmente liberi. La libertà di altri uomini, lungi dal negare o limitare la mia libertà, al contrario, la sua premessa e conferma necessaria.
- Mikhail Bakunin
✓ Steve: "You don't like it, do you?"
    Bill: "On the contrary, I think it's great!"
          ("Actually, I think it's great!")
Steve: "Non ti piace, vero?"
Bill: "Al contrario, penso che sia fantastico!"
✓ In many parts of Europe you don't need a car to get around. In contrast, in many parts of the USA you can't really survive without one.
✓ (In many parts of Europe you don't need a car to get around, while/whereas in many parts of the USA you can't really survive without one.)
✗ In many parts of Europe you don't need a car to get around. *On the contrary*, in many parts of the USA you can't really survive without one.
In molte zone dell'Europa non ti serve la macchina per spostarti. Per contrasto, in molte zone degli Stati Uniti non puoi sopravvivere senza.
We use on the contrary in a similar way to actually, to contradict an opinion. For example:
✓ You say I'm pessimistic about the future. On the contrary, I'm more optimistic than most people.
✓ (You say I'm pessimistic about the future, but actually I'm more optimistic than most people.)
Dici che sono pessimista per il futuro. Invece sono più ottimista della maggior parte delle persone.
✓ It isn't a bad idea - on the contrary, it has a lot of advantages.
Non è una cattiva idea - al contrario, ha tanti vantaggi.
We can use in contrast or by contrast (and not *on the contrary*) in a similar way to while or whereas to contrast (contrapporre) facts or situations, not opinions. For example:
✓ Jed's quite shy and serious. His brother Al, in contrast, is really outgoing.
✗ Jed's quite shy and serious. His brother Al, *on the contrary*, is really outgoing.
✓ (Jed's quite shy and serious, while/whereas his brother Al is really outgoing.)
Jed è piuttosto timido e serio. Suo fratello Al, al contrario, è molto estroverso.
✓ Most Italians sit down and take their time over lunch. In the UK, by contrast, many people just have a quick snack.
La maggior parte degli italiani si siede e pranza con comodo. In Gran Bretagna, invece, molte persone mangiano uno spuntino veloce.


Now try the quiz below! There are FIVE answers. The pass mark is 100% (5 out of 5). Click on the blue arrows to go to the next or previous question. You can check your answers immediately or when you've finished the quiz.

One thought on “on the contrary

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.