The phrase “on the other hand” is extremely common and overused in both writing and speech. However, incorporating the phrase into sentences could be a bit tricky as there are different ways of doing it. There are even various replacement phrases/words for it, which further adds to the confusion.
To correctly use the phrase “on the other hand”, make sure it introduces a point that is in contrast or opposes what’s being said earlier. Also, you may use it in combination with the phrase “on the one hand” to explicitly communicate the contradiction in the sentences or viewpoints.
Keep reading to learn more about the phrase, how it’s used in a variety of writing situations, review a long list of sentences incorporating the phrase, etc.
“On the Other Hand” – Definition
The phrase “on the other hand” introduces a contrasting point in writing or speech. The phrase is a conjunctive adverb, or an adverb connecting two ideas. It’s used to make a reader view a topic from a different perspective. In other words, the phrase is used to present opposing points of view or ideas in subsequence.
As far as the usage of the term “hand” goes, it basically draws on the basic idea of providing someone an option in one’s right hand and another, completely different choice in the left hand.
How to Use “On the Other Hand” in a Sentence
The phrase “on the other hand” is used when discussing an event, action, situation, etc.
- Marcus is extremely talented. He, on the other hand, is very lazy too.
- I do not like Korean TV shows a great deal. Korean movies, on the other hand, are quite interesting.
The phrase can be used either at the start of a sentence or after a couple of words (usually a noun) into the sentence. For example:
- Daniel, on the other hand, is friends with Karen.
- On the other hand, Daniel is friends with Karen.
Needless to mention, when not placed at the beginning of a sentence, “on the other hand” should be flanked by commas on both its sides.
Using it with “On the One Hand”
Though not extremely common, the phrase “on the one hand” could precede “on the other hand”. The two phrases are typically employed to showcase a couple of contradicting viewpoints a lot more effectively or explicitly.
The reason why “on the one hand” is not very commonly used in writing because the meaning is often quite implicit or most English speakers have no problem understanding the “first hand” without it being made obvious. It has, therefore, become common practice to incorporate “on the other hand” into various sentences and contexts as a standalone phrase.
- On the one hand, I want to eat out. On the other hand, I am looking to eat healthily.
- I want to eat out. On the other hand, I am looking to eat healthily.
The second sentence above doesn’t use the phrase “on the one hand”. It, however, still manages to get the point across without causing confusion or doubt in the reader’s mind.
By adding “one hand” into your writing, however, you are making things a tad interesting for your readers, or they know beforehand a different and fresh piece of information is imminent.
Also, if you use “on the one hand” in your texts, you could get away with not writing “on the other hand” in its entirety. You could just write “on the other”, for instance, and still manage to not confuse the reader. For example:
- On the one hand, she would love to have children, but on the other, she is not too keen on giving up her freedom.
Because the first part of the sentence already had the word “hand” in it, the need to repeat the word in the same sentence doesn’t arise.
If, however, you are not incorporating the phrase “on the one hand” into your sentences, you’ll have to write “on the other hand” without cuts. For instance, the usage of “on the other” in the following sentence is incorrect:
- She would love to have children. On the other, she is not too keen on giving up her freedom.
Also, if you do end up using both the phrases as a pair in your texts, try to keep the two as close to each other as possible. This would help the reader easily discern the relationship between the two. The usage of the phrases could be in a single sentence or two sentences, or in successive paragraphs. If there are multiple pages or paragraphs between them, the connection could be difficult to spot.
Is “On the Other Hand” Formal English?
The phrase “on the other hand” is standard English and can be used in a variety of scenarios. It could be used in both casual conversations, and also business and academic writing or conversations. The phrase appears in books, novels, critiques, poems, and essays.
However, some may consider the phrase informal. You should, therefore, look to avoid using it in formal writing whenever possible, including in business documents and academic papers. Other words or phrases – such as “conversely”, “by contrast”, etc. – could be used as replacements.
Other than for the tone, “on the other hand” could also be replaced in some forms of writing for succinctness.
Some of the other word(s) that can be used as replacement include:
- From the opposite point of view
- On the contrary
- To the contrary
- At the same time
- On second thought
- On the flip side
And here are word(s) that mean the opposite of “on the other hand”:
- In the same way
- In addition
- On top of this/that
- To the same degree
Examples Sentences with the Phrase “On the Other Hand”
Here is a list of sentences incorporating the phrase “on the other hand”:
- On the other hand, think about the nation’s gloried past.
- Jim, on the other hand, believes it can serve as a fitting symbol.
- The route is a lot more direct. The alternative path, on the other hand, is significantly shorter.
- Medicaid and Medicare, on the other hand, work better to pay for mental health.
- The show, on the other hand, always reflected the zeitgeist.
- The artistic color palette, on the other hand, consists of additive hues that include red, blue, and green.
- The military, on the other hand, has been constantly accused of carrying out illegal activities in the area.
- On the other hand, the minority group’s social structure will collapse if secession and sectionalism are allowed freely.
- Certain rights, on the other hand, do need some signs of commitment and consent.
- On the other hand, untreated maternal depression could adversely affect development.
- Thomas, on the other hand, was short and thin.
- People working in the IT sector, on the other hand, are looked at as geeks, nerds, propeller heads, and dweebs.
- On the other hand, Bruce tears your heart out with his simple, soulful music.
- Stable rates and a liquid market are expected next week. On the other hand, a greater decline in treasury bill prices is inevitable.
- Electric bikes, on the other hand, will soon become mass-market commodities.
- Damien, on the other hand, noticed I was red with anger.
- My wife likes all genres of music – I, on the other hand, am very particular about the kind of music I listen to.
- He is an extremely selfish guy. His sister, on the other hand, is the epitome of selflessness and generosity.
- It’s a great looking building, no doubt. But, on the other hand, one cannot discount the sad truth that it has displaced many animals and rendered them homeless.
- Some strategies, on the other hand, were infrequently used.
- We, on the other hand, have conclusive evidence that lice play a major role in the disease’s transmission.
- Distraction, on the other hand, is linked with not-very-severe depression.
- I was just a couple of minutes late for the event. Anna, on the other hand, reached the place 30 minutes after the show started.
As mentioned earlier, “on the other hand” can accompany the phrase “on the one hand”. Here are a couple of sentences employing the two in quick successions:
- On the one hand, the fact that I forgot to invite him to my wedding makes me feel guilty. On the other hand, I am sure he would have created a scene had I invited him to the event.
- On the one hand, big weddings are like a dream. On the other hand, there is an inexplicable charm attached to small, modest celebrations.
To summarize, the phrase “on the other hand” is primarily used to denote a discernible shift in tone or message of a sentence(s). It could be either placed in the middle of a sentence or inaugurating a statement. It can also be paired with its sibling “on the one hand” at times.
Irrespective of how you use the phrase, make sure you do not overuse it. It should certainly not feature in the same paragraph more than once. If a paragraph has to have contradicting viewpoints twice or more and there arises the need to use “on the other hand” multiple times in close proximity to each other, use alternative words or phrases.