AEE 783: How to Signal That You’re About to State a Contradiction in English

state contradiction in English

Do you often say things that are counterintuitive or do you contradict yourself?

Do you know what to say in English when you are about to state a contradiction?

Let’s start with a role play:

A: So Lindsay what is life like in Boston?

B: Well Michelle to be honest it’s just so expensive to rent an apartment here it’s almost impossible.

A: Seriously? I guess rental prices have gone up in the last few years.

B: Yeah they have, it’s almost prohibitive, that being said, there is no place in the US I would rather be right now. So much is going on here in the arts and academia it’s very inspiring.

 

I’m noticing more and more in life that things are counterintuitive.

High-level thinking requires holding two contrasting ideas and making them work in your mind.

Now it’s time to learn how to do this in English!

 

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Some examples:

  • “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”  ― Mahatma Gandhi

 

If you want your whole message to make sense in English then you should signal that you’re going to state a contradiction.

This will prepare the people you are speaking with.

It will make it easier for people to understand you.

 

Examples of contradictions:

  • They say avocados are a super food and are really good for you BUT they have a lot of calories.
  • Weekend time off is really important but if you want to start a good business you need to work weekends.
  • If you don’t take enough time off on the weekends you will be less efficient when you work during the week.

 

Phrases to use to signal contradiction:

  • “That being said” 
    • A: So Lindsay you look great. Are you on a diet or something?
      B: Oh yeah Michelle I am trying to slim down. I am eating a lot of avocados and other vegetables and fruits these days on salads.
    • B Oh that’s awesome. They say avocados are a super food.
    • A: Yeah they are packed with nutrients. That being said, they also have a ton of calories so you have to be careful not to go overboard.
    • B: Hmm want to have lunch next week? Maybe you can take me to that place organic place Life Alive that you always talk about.
    • A: Sounds great

 

  • “Having said that”
    • A: So Michelle I heard you are working on a new business these days?
    • B: Yeah I am working super hard so that I can have more freedom in my days eventually.
    • A: What kind of hours are you working?
    • B: Well I’m working 14 hours a day, even on weekends.
    • A: Woah.
    • B: Yeah. I need to put a lot of time in at first. Having said that, I have been thinking about scaling back my hours just a tad. I am working too much.
    • Good idea. Can you take this Saturday off to go to the beach?

 

What’s the takeaway?


When you start to use these phrases to state contradictions, this is a sign that you are becoming an advanced speaker.

You will be more likely to connect with natives when you are able to add these little features to your language.

Don’t be afraid to try these out.

 

What questions do you have about today’s episode?

Let us know in the comments below.

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