I would like to give reasons for a choice I made in two sentences. I want to have two sentences, because in my case the reasons are quite complicated to explain and it does not make sense to explain them in one sentence. Is "One the one hand ... . On the other hand ... ." a proper way to do this? Are there alternatives?

I think "One the one hand ... . On the other hand ... ." sounds as if those two would give something that contradicts.


I went to the party for two reasons. On the one hand, I wanted to find new friends. On the other hand I did not want to stay at home.

  • P.S.: I am new on this SE site. I probably chose the wrong tags. Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 5:08

2 Answers 2


Generally, the idiom on the other hand is used to mean two contradictory things or the facts that are opposite to each other. TheFreeDictionary mentions it.

something that you say when you are speaking about two different facts or two opposite ways of thinking about a situation

The example follows -

On the one hand, I'd like more money, but on the other hand, I'm not prepared to work the extra hours in order to get it.

You see -you want money but are not ready to work extra hours.

The two reasons you give here for your going to party are not quite opposite but they are two different (valid?) reasons. And thus, there are many ways to say that. One of them is -

"I went to the party for two reasons. First, I wanted to make new friends and second, I did not want to stay home."

  • Can one make a point between them? So: "I went to the party for two reasons. First, I wanted to make new friends. Second, I did not want to stay home."? That sounds a bit strange to me. The point is that I am currently writing my first scientific work in English. The "real" question is in a more complicated context and the sentence is much longer. So I want to split the two reasons in two sentences. Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 5:32
  • What's the point? How is it strange? The two reasons for what you went to the party are following in a very formal way --First....and second! And if you don't write real question, how would be able to answer it?
    – Maulik V
    Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 5:44
  • 2
    @moose Yes, you absolutely can have them as two separate sentences. Or even separate paragraphs if you like. It's very good style. Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 5:45
  • @moose You can start off one sentence with 'Firstly' and the other other with 'Secondly', and that will accomplish the same thing. You are free to make points between the two (even more sentences if required) as long as they are related to the first reason, and you eventually return to stating your second reason.
    – Damien H
    Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 5:46

One the one hand ... . On the other hand ... does not necessarily mean opposite things.

Example: On one hand, I had to choose between rounded or pointy. On the other hand hand I had to choose between green or blue. In this case it is shapes versus colors. They are not opposite, not similar either. They are just different.

If you want to feel safer, you can use (as suggested already) firstly and secondly. But again you may have a complaint: there is an implied hierarchy (or order in time). It depends if you want this or not.

Alternative: One way is... Another way is... (replace way with anything suitable). One possible choice is... Another possible choice is...

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