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Discover the French phrase "Au contraire"

You are in the right place to discover everything you want to know about the basic French sentence "Au contraire". To be clear, it includes a full definition of what it is and how to use it in a casual conversation with an audio example.In addition, we also added some useful informations like slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example, synonyms and more!

French to English

  • Translation : On the contrary

  • Register : Neutral - Basic

How to pronounce it



  • IPA : / o kɔ̃tʁɛʁ /

aesthetic french quote au contraire

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What does au contraire mean?


This interjection is very useful if you need to deny a statement and claim the exact opposite. It's translated as "On the contrary" but "Just the opposite" and "Quite the contrary" are fine too.

It's neutral so you can use it in every situation (family, friends, work, etc.)

How to use it

Let's see how you can use it through little examples:

Someone asks you if you are anxious, then you might say: "Au contraire" (On the contrary). This implies that you are actually relaxed and not anxious.

Now if you want to make it more clear, you can justify why it's not true right after, in our example it would be: "Au contraire, je suis détendu(e)" (On the contrary, I'm relaxed)

Another way to highlight the contradiction is to use the adverb "tout" or "bien" before the interjection: "Bien au contraire, je suis détendu" or "Tout au contraire, je suis détendu" (Just/Totally the opposite, I'm relaxed).

Finally, there is another possible use; add the preposition "de" after "au contraire" to change the meaning into: "Contrary to". For example: "Au contraire de ce que tu penses, je suis détendu" (Contrary to what you think, I'm relaxed).

Fun fact

"Au contraire" also exists in English, and even better, they have a rhyme with it: "Au contraire mon frère" (On the contrary my brother). 

But we don't use the last version in French... except if talking to our brother. Which doesn't even need to be the case in English, because it's just for the pun and the rhyme.


Example in a dialogue


Je n'aime pas ma nouvelle coiffure

I don't like my new haircut

Au contraire, ça te va super bien !

On the contrary, it suits you very well!


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