Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thème agrégation : "contrary to"

People have difficulty with the expression "contrary to". As a general rule, it is not used to contrast two things, but to contrast one thing with its representation. 

CORRECT : Contrary to popular opinion, England has a rich tradition of folk music.

INCORRECT:  Contrary to English folk music, Scottish folk music uses mostly wind instruments.

CORRECT: In contrast with English folk music, Scottish folk music uses mainly wind instruments.

There are a couple of further nuances. Here is what I found in the British National Corpus:

Here is a random selection of solutions from the 1316 found.
A2M 230 Contrary to reports in Paris last week, government investigators working at the central police laboratory here have ruled out the presence of the Czechoslovak-made explosive Semtex, which caused the Lockerbie disaster.
A6D 246 The second reason why the homosexual is involved with difference is because, contrary to what the foregoing theory implies, she or he has, in historical actuality, embraced both cultural and racial difference.
A7F 642 Planning consent for a Center Parc at Longleat, Wiltshire, has yet to be gained, contrary to a report in Caterer (11–17 July).
AE9 763 In 1323 the Justices of the Forest were ordered to recall all the royal demesne woods which had been disafforested contrary to the Charter of the Forest: Henry Scrope, appointed Justice of the Forest north of Trent on 10 September, reafforested thirty-three townships in the Forest of Galtres alone.
AJC 5 The three women say this is contrary to the wishes of thousands of people who contributed about £3 million to help troops and their families who suffered in the war.
AKE 1183 Contrary to opinion, Gooch is a thoroughly happy man.
CB1 256 Submitting to ‘Be aware’, he attends closely to his situation and to his own reactions, and instead of trying to infer from principles how he ought to respond, discovers how when most aware he does respond, and perhaps surprises himself by an impulse contrary to social convention or to his own self-image.
CBT 2778 This would, however, be contrary to SSAP 24, which requires gradual rather than immediate recognition of experience differences, and does not discriminate between surpluses and deficiencies.
CKR 1060 His violent defence of the primacy, though it was contrary to all the forward-looking governmental ideals and interests of the Church as a whole during his later years, is his nearest approach to a consistent political policy as archbishop.
E9R 1061 Contrary to some critical comment, he believes that credit for obtaining substantial funding for the scheme should go to the Minister himself, for having taken a personal interest in the scheme.

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