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"Then again, it didn't matter, did it?"

What's the meaning of "then again" here?

Is it the same as "thinking better"?

  • then/there again "mainly spoken used for introducing a statement that makes what you have just said seem less true, or that is the opposite of what you have just said. I suppose Elaine might help; then again she might not. The hotel was awful. But then again, you can't expect much for $30 a night." – Damkerng T. Jul 25 '14 at 0:06
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"Then again" is used to introduce an afterthought or second thought to a previous statement. Depending on the tone of the speaker, it can mean "thinking better of it..." or "on the other hand." The latter usage elicits a spoken emphasis on the verb (especially a modal).

I didn't want Larry to see what happened... then again I figured as a doctor, maybe he could help me. (= thinking better of it)

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I don't want Larry to see what happened. Then again he is a doctor. (=on the other hand)

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"Then again" would only be synonymous with "thinking better [of...]" when the prior thought was negative. "On the other hand" (or "then again") could be used in either circumstance.

[Something negative]; thinking better of it, [something positive].

[Something positive or negative]; on the other hand, [something opposite].

In both cases, the second statement opposes the first, but the inclusion of "better" implies a positive meaning to the second statement.

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Then again mean "however" or "on the other hand"

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