"If that much money would be paid in a period of year, the orphanage management would also stabilize. On the contrary, Bob would be able to reconstruct it or add more buildings as much as he pleased. He wouldn't have to worry about the debt anymore."

I found this sentence in a book I'm reading.

EDIT: I forgot to say that it's Bob (the orphanage manager) the one who is being paid, so "on the contrary" here is used to say that now that Bob has money, not only he can stabilize the situation of the orphanage that has been poor until now, but he can even restructure it or add more building to it.

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    On the contrary does not really seem to make much sense "in this specific context." What is the contrary relationship? (And who is he?) Commented Jan 7, 2018 at 17:42
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    Seriously?  You read this in a book?  Was it written by somebody who doesn’t know English?  Are you sure you quoted it accurately, and didn’t leave out any context? (Can you tell us what book it was, so we can check it independently?) Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 0:30
  • @Scott I am baffled too. But there are many types of editors as there are levels of quality. Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 14:18

3 Answers 3


"Otherwise Bob would be able to..."

You probably also want to add "a" before "year" so it reads:

"If that much money would be paid in a period of a year..."


As @Dmitri Wolf said above, "otherwise" fits well in that context. You may also use the more generic "if not."

The context you provided, however, is not enough to make it certain. It is not easy to imagine how with a lesser amount paid Bob could add more buildings.

Edit: Considering your additions and new comments, I would say with a high level of confidence that "on the contrary" is incorrectly used in this context. Words like, then, so, etc. would fit more logically. Let me explain:

The first sentence is conditional to receiving money. [here goes the transition phrase/word] If the money comes, then, the manager could do all sort of new and interesting stuff.

If you insert on the contrary, you are pointing to the opposite side. In other words, you are contrasting: saying, "if the money does not come, then..."

So, instead of suggesting the word otherwise, as I did above, I would suggest others like therefore, then, so, etc.

Of course, it all depends if I understood your new comments correctly.

  • Thanks, but "on the contrary" in that sentence is used to "intensify", and not to say the opposite. I edited the post with more information, because it wasn't really clear.
    – aksk971
    Commented Jan 7, 2018 at 21:56
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    It’s still not clear.  This would make sense: “If that much money would be paid in a period of a year, the orphanage manager wouldn’t have to worry about the debt anymore. On the contrary, Bob would be able to reconstruct it or add more buildings.”  But you can’t use “on the contrary” to intensify something unless you’re also contrasting it with something. Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 0:39
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    @aksk971 Thanks for updating the example in your query. Scott is right, on the contrary, cannot work as an amplifier in this case. Perhaps you are trying to use contrary as opposed to another "milder" contrasting word and that is why you say it is amplifying it. The way you have it at this moment, the paragraph is somewhat understandable, but it should improve. Otherwise, if not, or perhaps others could work better. Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 13:51
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    It is safer to use the dictionary for definitions over the thesaurus, and every single definition for the word on contrary in Dictionary.com relates to opposite or things going wrong. Besides, Thesaurus.com suggests "additionally," "further,' and "then" as synonyms for "on the contrary" only "as in again", and that is key. It means that you could use "on the contrary" in the same way as the previous words when you are making an argument in the opposite direction (to discredit it) and need to return to your main point. I can give you examples if you want. Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 23:38
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    @aksk971 Knowing you come from the Italian language explains your questions. In Spanish "anzi" is often translated as "más bien," and in English the most common translation is "rather." In both cases the most common usage is to lead into a different direction unless, you are using it to restate a case, as I tried to explain above. But coming back to your new question, no, "moreover" would not fit neither because moreover is closer to tanto più than to pertanto, and the latter is what you want to convey. Isn't? Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 1:23

You may, if you wish, make use of the word "Opposingly", as a replacement for "On the contrary".

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    They are indeed synonyms, but in this case it would not fit since the logical course is not in the opposite direction. In other words, "if the money comes, the manager could build..." Though less relevant, opposingly is the type of adverb you want to use sparingly- when no other words would do better. Style experts call these types of words "deadwood," because they make reading harder. Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 23:50

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