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に対して is generally used with the sense of "in contrast to" or "in regard to/ toward to"; however I never understood if the difference can only be infered by the context or there is a difference in patter. Usually when it has the meaning of "in opposition to" it seems that is preceded by の, like in のに対して, but I am not sure if it is a rule or just a coincidence.

In the following sentences I believe it means "in contrast":

外遊びが好きな長男のに対して、次男は家の中で遊ぶことが好きだ。

昨日は大阪では大雨だったのに対して、東京はいい天気だった。

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  • What are you asking exactly?
    – istrasci
    Jul 10 '20 at 18:33
  • I wanted to know if there is a specific patter for when に対して means "in contrast to" or "in regard to/ toward to", or the difference in meaning must be understood by reading the passage as a whole.
    – Alex16
    Jul 10 '20 at 20:07
  • Could you provide some examples that use「に対して」where you think the implication of contrast is stronger than that of in regard to or vice versa? Interesting question! Jul 11 '20 at 1:03
  • の in のに対して is a nominalizer to transform whatever comes before that is not a noun to a noun so that it connects to に, regardless of this phrase. Jul 11 '20 at 5:24
  • I provided two examples so to make clear my message.
    – Alex16
    Jul 11 '20 at 7:42
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The main concept of 「対する」 is that two things face each other, and I think the meaning is derived metaphorically.

When the two things are of opposite nature, the English translation of "in opposition to" or "in contrast" fit the context (rain in Osaka vs. sunny in Tokyo in your sample). When the two things are in subject-object relation or source-target relation (question/answer in 「質問に対する答え」), the translation can be "in regard to".

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