I want to explain something in the first sentence and then say some opposite thing in the second sentence. I thought, I could use the phrase in contrast to make the flow of a paragraph.

For example:

The statistics illustrate a low overall result. In contrast, the figure shows a good completeness.

I doubt whether I am using the phrase in contrast correctly because I found the usage of in contrast to something correct as well. So, my main concern is whether we should use in contrast to something or simply in contrast followed by a comma.

  • 1
    I would use "By contrast, ..." or "However, ..."
    – Henry
    Dec 1, 2012 at 12:13

4 Answers 4


The use of in contrast isn’t quite right here, and it isn’t really clear what is meant. Do the two sentences mean that the statistics are complete, but that they show a result lower than might have been expected? If so, you need to say something like The figures are complete, but they show a disappointingly low result.

EDIT: I see now that you are asking whether in contrast can be used on its own to introduce an opposing sentence. It can. For example, I might say It rained the whole of May. In contrast, June was a very dry month.

It follows in principle that you can use it that way in your example, but it remains unclear what two items are being contrasted. That may because of the use of completeness (which is not a good choice here anyway). Does it mean that the statistics are complete, or that whatever it is they describe is complete?

  • thank you. I think, I misguided you all. As I am looking for the pattern. So, I amended the post. and asking irrespective from the real meaning, could I use "in contrast," or should we always to use "in contrast to sth" phrase.
    – gnp
    Dec 1, 2012 at 12:28
  • 2
    I have expanded my answer in a way that you may find helpful. Dec 1, 2012 at 12:42
  • @Barrie England: "It rained the whole of May. In contrast, June was a very dry month." Should that sentence not have "By contrast"? english.stackexchange.com/a/7643/347780
    – Bart
    Jun 22, 2023 at 10:42

The word "contrast" conveys a stark difference in the degree to which two otherwise similar objects possess an attribute. Dark, depressing books and bonobos are too dissimilar to be in contrast, whereas the former do contrast with light hearted, trivial books.

If there is a valid context for comparison between the statistics and the figure, and this comparison would indicate that they are at opposite ends of the same spectrum, then yes, using "in contrast" is appropriate.

To address your edit, I believe all of the following are correct:

  • Contrastingly, the figure shows good completeness.
  • In contrast to this, the figure shows good completeness.
  • In contrast, the figure shows good completeness.

The last one is somewhat ambiguous, so I would avoid using it. Additionally, I have removed the "a", which is incorrect.

  • thanks, another more clarification is needed. in this context, it should be "in contrast" or "in contrast to sth" or "in contrast with"..?
    – gnp
    Dec 1, 2012 at 12:30
  • 1
    @niro Alright, I've updated my answer. Dec 1, 2012 at 12:35
  • I don't think I've ever heard anyone use the word "contrastingly." Instead, "contrarily" is much more common.
    – 3nafish
    Dec 1, 2012 at 22:28

A better alternative would be:

The statistics illustrate a low overall result. The figure, on the contrary, shows a good completeness.

The free dictionary:

on the contrary
just the opposite, esp. of something said or believed The evidence of history, on the contrary, shows that these ancient people had a very advanced culture.

You could also state it in a much simpler way:

The statistics illustrate a low overall result. The figure, however, shows a good completeness.


It is not clear what you are contrasting. What is the "figure"? When you contrast things you need to specify what attribute it's about. You've tried to contrast the outcome in an unclear fashion. Only in common turn of phrase (e.g. dry vs. wet weather) can you leave off exactly what is being contrasted. You're comparing unlike things, making it confusing. Statistics is a field of study and the figure is some number. Maybe if you used tighter terminology it would become clearer what you are contrasting. There is a tendency by non-native English speakers (like myself) to use words like contrasting in the hope that it helps to show or strengthens the case in otherwise unclear phrases. It does not.

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