Joining Ideas – Contrast


image for contrast and concession page

Contrast & Concession

When we look at the idea of contrasting things we are considering two ways of doing this.

The first of these is contrast. Contrast words allow us to look at differences between people or things that are being compared.

The second way of contrasting ideas is through something called concession. Concession expresses an idea that suggests the opposite of the main part of the sentence.

Let’s look at some examples of how contrast works.


There are two ways to look at how we contrast information and we often use a different type of word or expression. When we contrast ides in a sentence we typically use single words. Our second method of using a following sentence to do this and here we often use longer expressions as a part of a more detailed idea.   

Let’s see some examples of these.

In a sentence
We really wanted to go to that concert; however, we could not afford the tickets.


 Across sentences
Planning an effective marketing campaign is a challenge. On the one hand, the reward of a successful one is very satisfying.



Concession is commonly used in both spoken and written English, especially in persuasive texts, discussions, and academic writing like essays. It helps to demonstrate a fair and balanced approach to a topic by recognising differing opinions.

It also helps to show an ability to organise ideas and texts in exam situations.  We can use some of the expressions we’ve seen before by using words or phrases such as

  • although
  • while
  • despite
  • admittedly
  • granted that

In this case these expressions signal that the following statement or part of a statement will present a contradictory or opposing idea. Let’s see some examples.

  • While this approach may be useful, there are other ways to look at this problem.

    In this example sentence the writer is using the concession word while to consider alternatives. By joining with the information in this sentence with what came before and also what’s coming next it shows a more sophisticated way of organizing ideas.

  • Certainly, there is a need for these matters to be discussed. But that does not mean that such concerns should not be expressed and investigated.

    Here the writer or speaker is offering two different opinions. By using but in the second sentence they are trying to show a balance in their opinion about this topic.

  • Individuals have rights to freedom, but medical evidence shows that second-hand smoke is harmful. It is fair to say that nobody has the right to harm the health of another.

    In this example the writer is using but once again to show a concession. In this case they are trying to use the two pieces of information to persuade the reader of their opinion.

Both contrast and concession use many of the same type of linking words but the way we organise them are different. Remember too at C1 Advanced you need to able to use a wide range of these linking devices to communicate your ideas. 
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