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The French sentence "Bien au contraire" explained

Are you ready to learn all the things you want to know about the basic French sentence "Bien au contraire"? Including a detailed guide of what it is and how to use it in a casual conversation with an audio example. Not to mention the cool stuff we added like dialogue example, slow pronunciation audio, synonyms and more!

Translation in English

  • Translation : Quite the contrary

  • Register : Formal - Basic

How to pronounce it?



  • IPA : / bjɛ̃ o kɔ̃tʁɛʁ /

aesthetic french quote bien au contraire

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What does bien au contraire mean?


This formal interjection is very useful if you need to deny a statement and claim the exact opposite. It's translated as "Quite the contrary".

How to use

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

Someone asks you if you are anxious, then you might say: "Bien au contraire" (Quite 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: "Bien au contraire, je suis détendu(e)" (Quite the contrary, 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.

Synonyms / Related

↓ Example in a story with French audio ↓

Finally, let's see an example in a parallel story with slow audio.



RémiPourquoi tu as l'air si énervée ?
Why do you look so upset?
KarineJe suis énervée à cause de mon travail.
I'm upset about my job.
RémiPourquoi ? Trop de travail ?
Why? Too much work?
KarineNon, il y a une collègue qui m'énerve beaucoup.
No, there is a colleague who annoys me a lot.
RémiPourquoi ? Elle est méchante avec toi ?
Why? Is she mean to you?
KarineNon, bien au contraire. Elle est trop gentille.
No, quite the contrary. She's too nice.
RémiCe n'est pas une bonne chose ?
Isn't that a good thing?
KarineDans certaines situations oui, mais pas ici.
In some situations yes, but not here.
RémiDe quoi tu parles ?
What are you talking about?


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C'est fait


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Je t'attendais

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