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“On the other hand” in French: En revanche vs. par contre

“On the other hand” in French: En revanche vs. par contre

In French, there are two main ways to say “on the other hand”: par contre and en revanche. While both are widely accepted as synonyms, there is actually a subtle difference between the two, which we’ll explain below.

en revanche, par contre

on the other hand

En revanche, par contre (other the other hand in French)

En revanche

Explained very clearly on the French site, en revanche means “on the other hand” in the context of providing “positive information, an asset, an advantage, compared to the information which precedes it.”

In this example sentence, en revanche could also translate to “yet” and “however”.

Marie n’est pas douée en languges mais en revanche elle est très forte en maths.

Marie isn’t very good at languages. On the other hand, she’s good at math.

Here’s another example sentence which illulstates the explaination. For the English translation we’re simply using the word “but” to mean “but on the other hand”. The pronoun y means “there”. This post on FrenchToday provides an explanation of y.

C’est loin mais en revanche ça vaut la peine d’y aller.

It’s far but it’s worth going.

Par contre

Following the explanation on, par contre means “on the other hand” implying “the introduction of a disadvantage, of negative information.”

Nicolas est très fort en allemand. Par contre, il n’est pas très doué pour l’anglais.

Nicolas is very good at German. But, on the other hand he’s not very good at English.

Here’s one more example:

Gérald est très beau, par contre il n’est pas du tout intelligent.

Gerald is very handsome. However, he’s not intelligent at all.


Et voilà ! Now you have a very good undertanding of how to use en revanche and par contre in French. Now check out our posts covering how to use the word formidable (great, amazing). and the reflexive verb se débrouiller (to manage, get by).

En revanche example in French

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site,, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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