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Learning English Grammar | expressing contrast

English Grammar | describing contrast

France spent 1.5% of GDP [Gross Domestic Product] on defense. The USA, in contrast spent 3.2%. [correct]
France spent 1.5% of GDP [Gross Domestiv Produst] on defense. On the contrary, the USA spent 3.2%. [incorrect]

China, on the other hand, experienced a slight drop over the same period. [correct]
China, on the other side, experienced a slight drop over the same period. [incorrect]

We use in contrast to introduce a fact or idea which is very different from what has already been mentioned. Note the position of the phrase in the sentence:
Questionnaires produce only limited responses. Interviews, in contrast, are time-consuming, but allow for fuller replies.
In Britain only 9% of over sixties live with their families, in contrast to 29% in Japan.

We can also say that there is a contrast between two things which are very different:
There is a stark contrast between the affluent suburbs and the nearby slum areas.

We use on the contrary, especially in speech, to introduce the opposite of what has just been said or to express an opposite opinion:
"Have visitor numbers dropped since the attack?" "On the contrary, they've risen slightly."
"You might think that because most people earn and spend more than their parent did - they would be happier." "On the contrary, nowadays, people seem less content than in the past."

We use the phrase on the other hand to introduce an opposite viewpoint:
Parents need to warn their children about things to avoid, but, on the other hand, they must not make children over-anxious.

See more common English grammar mistakes

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