How to Use Sentence Connectors to Show Contrast

Once you have mastered the basics of correct usage in written English, you will want to express yourself in increasingly complex ways. One of the best ways to improve your writing style is to use sentence connectors. Sentence connectors are used to express relationships between ideas and to combine sentences. The use of these connectors will add sophistication to your writing style.

After you study these constructions, take the contrasting ideas quiz to check your understanding.

Common Connectors for Contrast

Type of ConnectorConnector(s)Examples
Coordinating conjunctionbutHigh level positions are stressful at times, but the financial rewards make these positions very desirable indeed.
Subordinating conjunctionswhereas, whileWhile high level positions are stressful at times, the financial rewards make these positions very desirable indeed.
Conjunctive adverbsin contrast, on the other handHigh level positions are stressful at times; on the other hand, the financial rewards make these positions very desirable indeed.
PrepositionsunlikeUnlike the undesirable stress of high level positions, the financial rewards make these positions very desirable indeed.

Common Constructions for Contrast

FormulaExampleExplanation
the main statement, but contrasting statementI'd really like to come to the film, but I have to study tonight.Use a comma or semicolon (;) with 'but'. 'But' is the most common way to show contrasting ideas.
the main statement, in spite of contrasting statement OR in spite of contrasting statement, main statementThey continued on their journey, in spite of the pouring rain.Use 'in spite of' plus a noun, noun phrase or gerund
the main statement, despite contrasting statement OR Despite the contrasting statement, main statementThey continued on their journey, despite the pouring rain.Use 'despite' plus a noun, noun phrase or gerund
the main statement, although contrasting statement OR Although contrasting statement, main statementWe wanted to buy a sports car, although we knew that fast cars can be dangerous.Use 'although' with a subject and a verb.

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