On the Other Hand vs. On the Contrary

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This research study is aimed at exploring Thai EFL learners’ knowledge of two adversative linking adverbials (LAs): “on the other hand” and “on the contrary.” The data was elicited through two instruments, i.e. a multiple-choice test in which the participants were asked to choose between the two target LAs to complete a corpus-generated contextualized sentence and an interview. Having been conveniently sampled, the twenty-four participants were found to have more difficulty using “on the contrary” than “on the other hand,” possibly attributed to salience of the latter LA in the L1 input. The interview results also showed that some of the participants assumed synonymy between the two LAs, thus using them interchangeably.