Au contraire indicates “On the contrary”. But if you’re an English-speaker, the phrase’s translation isn’t contrary at all; it turns out we usage it the exact same means the French perform.

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Still, it’s not rather so simple. Let’s take a closer look at au contraire.


Important: Tright here is only one way to write au contraire. Au contrare, oh crontaire and also au contrair are both incorrect. Au contraire mon frère is likewise not something French people say.

Au contraire is the French way to say “on the contrary”. Of course, it’s also supplied in English to mean the specific same point.

But tbelow are some differences.

For one thing, although the majority of English-speakers this day will say it in a somewhat joking tone, in French, it’s a major or neutral expression.

Anvarious other difference is that in English, Au contraire is typically supplied on its very own, however in French, it’s a small more versatile.

How to use au contraire in French

The French deserve to usage au contraire as a stand-alone statement, yet the phrase can also be inserted at the start or in the middle of a sentence.

For circumstances, you could say:

Interdire la diffusion d’un film ne ferait au contraire qu’augmenter la curiosité du public.

Banning a film will certainly, on the contrary, just make the public more curious about it.

Or, if you’re reacting to a statement someone’s just made:

Au contraire, interdire la diffusion d’un film ne ferait qu’augmenter la curiosité du public.

On the contrary, banning a film will certainly just make the public more curious about it.

Here are some other examples of how to use au contraire:

Je ne déteste pas ses tableaux, au contraire, je les trouve fascinants.

I don’t hate his paintings; on the contrary, I discover them fascinating.

Les rats ne sont pas totalement nuisibles; au contraire, ils aident à éliminer beaucoup de déchets de notre ville.

Rats aren’t totally destructive; on the contrary, they help get rid of a lot of garbage in our city.

Tu penses que je veux que tu partes? Au contraire! Je n’aimerais pas vivre sans toi!

You think I desire you to leave? On the contrary! I wouldn’t desire to live without you!

What does au contraire de mean?

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In French, you deserve to also usage au contraire through the preposition de . This modifies the expression to be the equivalent of “Contrary to”.

For example:

Au contraire de sa sœur, Michel aime les chiens.

Contrary to/Unchoose his sister, Michel likes dogs.

As you may have guessed, you can’t use au contraire de as a standalone statement. On the other hand, it deserve to be placed in different components of a sentence.

For circumstances, you could adjust its placement in the instance sentence above: Michel aime les chiens, au contraire de sa soeur. (Michel likes dogs, unfavor his sister.)

Two au contraire variants

You might come across one of these au contraire phrases:

tout au contraire

Both suppose “fairly the contrary”. But bien au contraire is far more widespread. You have the right to use itin a sentence or as a stand-alone exclamation.

Here are some examples:

On pensait que le PDG de la marque serait très bien habillée; bien au contraire, elle s’habillait comme un sac.

We assumed the brand’s CEO would certainly be extremely well dressed; fairly the contrary, she was a disastrous dresser.

Assembler cette bibliothèque sera facile, non? Bien au contraire!

Putting together this bookshelf will certainly be simple, won’t it? Quite the contrary!

Ceux qui n’aiment pas les chats disent out que c’est un animal qui ne sait pas aimer les hommes. Bien au contraire; les chats ont leur propre façon de montrer leur amour.

People who don’t like cats say that cats are animals who don’t know just how to love people. Quite the contrary; cats have actually their very own method of reflecting love.

From my suffer, French people tfinish to say tout le contraire far more than tout au contraire. This still implies “Quite the contrary” or “Quite the opposite”, and is primarily only used in a sentence, not on its very own.

For instance:

C’est tout le contraire de ce que tu m’as expliqué.

This is totally the oppowebsite of what you explained to me.

This webweb page functions even more information around the word contraire and also the many expressions linked via it.

Do the French really say “Au contraire”?

Au contraire de some various other well known French phrases I’ve composed around , the French actually use au contraire.

It’s a perfectly typical, middle-of-the-road expression. You could usage it in a formal or professional setting, as well as through friends (well, unmuch less you and also your friends just usage exceptionally informal language around each various other at all times).

Do the French say “Au contraire, mon frère”?

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In English, au contraire is regularly paired via mon frère.

But the expression Au contraire, mon frère isn’t supplied in French unmuch less it’s in a very particular conmessage where a perkid is talking to their actual brvarious other (or perhaps a friend they’d deal with as such), and also then, it’s not really a common point to say.

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I tried to look into the beginning of Au contraire, mon frère, but couldn’t uncover a concrete answer. A few sources imply that it may have initially risen to popularity in English thanks to its usage by comedian George Carlin. Then aget, the phrase can have come right into use sindicate because of its similarity to other rhyming, somewhat comic multilingual refusals, favor “No way, Jose.”

Whatever its beginning may be, while Au contraire, mon frère is used in a funny means in English, it’s not really a thing in French. As one website sagely advises, “Note that you must never say this in French unless you’re actually talking to your brother.”

Now you understand all around au contraire. But if this short article wasn’t inconsistent sufficient for you, I’ll leave you via one of my favorite French quotations, attributed to legendary comedian Coluche: Je ne suis ni pour, ni contre, bien au contraire (I’m neither for, nor against it, fairly the contrary.).