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Using "er" to explain contrasting ideas

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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.

Structure

Sentence 1, + 而 + Sentence 2

As you can see, 而 comes between the two to heighten the contrast.

Frequently you'll see the pattern in one of these two more specific forms:

不是……,而是……

是……,而不是……

Examples

  • 我们 都 以为 这 是 他 干 的, 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, 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, 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, 他 不 喜欢。I like Chinese food, but he does not.
  • 不是 没打电话, 是电话没打通。
  • 我和你说了这么多, 你却听他的,太让我伤心了。
  • 而不是 他决定公司的事情。
  • 我们 夏天而不是 冬天去的上海。
  • 我们约好下午三点见面, 他却忘了。
  • 不是 不喜欢吃蛋炒饭, 是你做的不好吃。

See Also

Sources and Further Reading

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