Using "er" to explain contrasting ideas
The conjunction 而 (ér) is used to connect two sentences that are related to each other, but talk about contrasting ideas or subjects. In this manner, it can be seen as a word meaning "but" or "rather." 而 is often used in a more formal or literary sense, but it is also common in everyday speech.
Sentence 1， + 而 + Sentence 2
- 我们 都 以为 这 是 他 干 的，而 事实 是，他 根本 不 知道 这 件 事情。We all thought this was his task, but the fact is, he simply doesn't know about this topic.
- 以后 后悔 的 人 不 是 我，而 是 你 自己。The regretful person isn't me. It's you.
- 现在 要 做 的 不 是 责怪 谁 错 了，而 是 怎么 解决。Now is not the time to accuse who did it wrong, but to figure out how to resolve it.
- 我 喜欢 中国 菜，而 他 不 喜欢。I like Chinese food, but he does not.
Sources and Further Reading
- Yale Chinese Usage Dictionary: Usage of 而