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By contrast, American software .... [By contrast?]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by prankstare, May 19, 2007.

  1. prankstare Senior Member

    São Paulo
    Portuguese - Brazil
    I am almost certainly not sure about what that means in a formal letter. Let me see if I am right.



    Examples:

    Q: What is your favorite Japanese software package?
    A: None.

    The reason for the answer is that, other than video games, the Japanese have virtually no presence in the U.S. or world software markets. By contrast, American software dominates not only domestically but also worldwide, making up nearly 75 percent of global package software sales.




    Well, does it mean like further information or contrariness?

    (Disregard the quote. It's just a random example I found on the Internet)
     
  2. mjscott Senior Member

    To contrast something is to find their differences. By contrast means as a contrast concerning the information about Japanese software.

    In recent years they have taught students (where I am from at least) that to compare two things is to find their similarities. To contrast two things is to find their differences. In the quote above they are contrasting Japanese software sales and American software sales.
     
  3. Musical Chairs Senior Member

    Japan & US, Japanese & English
    It means that you can clearly see how American software is different from Japanese software. It highlights a difference.

    "Contrasting" colors would be pairs like white and black, red and green, yellow and purple. They would not be red and red-orange, pink and mauve, etc.
     
  4. fernandotorres

    fernandotorres Senior Member

    Pune
    India -Marathi and English
    You could subsitute it with "on the contrary"or "on the other hand".
     
  5. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    Contrast means extreme difference between properties of things.

    You could subsitute it with "on the contrary"or "on the other hand".

    Although, "on the other hand" is good; "on the contrary" however, is a set phrase which which announces a contradiction of the fact just stated (or sometimes a confirmation of a negative statement), so cannot be used here, because this is a comparison between two contrasting facts.

    Here is an example usage from a dictionary:
    "He didn't stay home; on the contrary, he went out with his friends"
     
  6. fernandotorres

    fernandotorres Senior Member

    Pune
    India -Marathi and English
    Well,I have to agree with you but don`t you think the distinction is too subtle to be perceptible?I mean,not many eyebrows would be raised if it were to be used,although I must admit,you do have a valid point.
     
  7. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    After MM's excellent definitions and distinctions, I'll just add a paraphrase of "by contrast".

    I think of it as 'highlighting the substantial differences between what was said before, and what comes next'.

    Example: I still marvel at desktop and laptop computers, though I've been using them since about 1980.
    By contrast, my sons cannot imagine a world without such devices. To highlight this great difference in perspective, my first encounter with a computer involved a General Electric mainframe and a teletype terminal in a university basement room with clanging steam pipes, while my kids played with a Mac II in our kitchen when they were in primary school.
     
  8. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    Yes, I believe eyebrows would be raised at the usage of "on the contrary" here. It's a phrase very much restricted in use to signalling that the preceding statement was not the case or did not happen. In the comparison here, both statements are true, even though their conclusions are almost the opposite.
     
  9. prankstare Senior Member

    São Paulo
    Portuguese - Brazil
    Alright, thank you all for replying. :)

    Yeah, I think I got the idea.

    Got a question though: is it used to compare only two different things or can I use it for more too?
     
  10. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Black beans and farofa are common in Brazil. By contrast, in Lingolandia the diet consists mostly of pickled goats liver, and in etymologystan the people eat fried phonemes with every meal.

    I've never used 'by contrast' for a three way comparison before, but it seems to work.
     

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