Comma Use Before and After 'On the other hand'

The expression "on the other hand" should be followed by a comma at the start of a sentence and surrounded by commas in mid-sentence.

The expression "on the other hand" should be followed by a comma at the start of a sentence and surrounded by commas in mid-sentence.

I don't like English food. Japanese food, on the other hand, is delicious.

I don't like English food. Japanese food on the other hand is delicious.

Video games improve working memory and rapid decision-making abilities. On the other hand, they can become addictive.

The use of other punctuation marks, such as periods, em dashes, parentheses, or semicolons, replace the use of a comma before or after "on the other hand".

I don't like European movies—on the other hand, English plays are usually great.

1. 'On the other hand' in Mid-sentence

In the middle of a sentence, the expression "on the other hand" interrupts the sentence flow to present a new point of view or contradict the previous statement. Therefore, it should be enclosed by commas.

Jennifer is very nice. She is, on the other hand, a very talented young girl.

Jennifer is very nice. She is on the other hand a very talented young girl.

I love California, which is, on the other hand, the most populous of the 50 states of the United States.

In the middle of a sentence, other words that interrupt the sentence flow and should be surrounded by commas are "by the way" and "after all".

2. Starting a Sentence with 'On the other hand'

"On the other hand" can also come at the start of a sentence to introduce a new point. Add a comma after "on the other hand" to separate it from the rest of the sentence.

Oil prices are stable. On the other hand, gasoline prices keep fluctuating because of changes in demand.

Oil prices are stable. On the other hand gasoline prices keep fluctuating because of changes in demand.

Instead of a period, you can use an em dash to introduce an abrupt change of thought or add emphasis before the sentence.

Spanish economy keeps growing—on the other hand, the unemployment rate remains extremely high.

Other introductory phrases and words, such as "however", "yes", or "no" should also be followed by a comma at the start of a sentence.

3. More Examples

  • Rebecca loves romantic movies. Her brother, on the other hand, prefers to watch action films.
  • Gold is a good investment right now. On the other hand, before investing money, you have to save some up.
  • Nuts are rich in minerals and vitamins—on the other hand, they are somewhat hard to digest.
  • Used-car buyers can take advantage of better prices. On the other hand, used vehicles are less reliable than brand-new models.
  • Isabella is brilliant. On the other hand, she is not very attractive.
  • The economic situation is getting worse. The company, on the other hand, may decide to lay off about twenty employees.
  • She is a nice girl—her friend, on the other hand, is very rude.
  • My sister is planning to visit Thailand, which is, on the other hand, the only Southeast Asian country that was never colonized by a European country.
  • On the other hand, the influence of Chinese cuisine began to spread all over the country.
  • We must admit, on the other hand, that inflation is having a huge impact across all asset classes.
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