Do you know how to contrast things using in spite of, despite and although?

 

in spite of / despite / although

In spite of, despite and although are all used to show a contrast but there are differences in the structures used with them.

In spite of / despite

After in spite of and despite we use a noun or a pronoun.

  • We enjoyed our camping holiday in spite of the rain.
  • Despite the pain in his leg he completed the marathon.
  • Despite having all the necessary qualifications, they didn’t offer me the job.

Remember that the gerund (‘-ing’ form) is the ‘noun’ form of a verb.

The only difference between in spite of and despite is the ‘of’.

  • Despite of the bad weather, there was a large crowd at the match.

Although

After although we use a subject and a verb.

  • We enjoyed our camping holiday although it rained every day.
  • Although he worked very hard, he didn’t manage to pass the exam.
  • The holiday was great although the hotel wasn’t very nice.

We can use in spite of and despite with a subject and verb if we include the expression ‘the fact that’.

  • In spite of the fact that he worked very hard, he didn’t manage to pass the exam.
  • Despite the fact that he worked very hard, he didn’t manage to pass the exam.

Even though

Even though is a slightly stronger form of although.

  • We decided to buy the house even though we didn’t really have enough money.
  • You keep making that stupid noise even though I’ve asked you to stop three times.

Like although, even though is followed by a subject and a verb.

 

Exercise

Language level

Intermediate: B1

Comments

Dear sir,
I am having trouble choosing the right words to fill this blank:"If you sell your house before the end of this month, your taxes will be reduced by almost 30 percent …………..the sale of your home." I have to choose between despite and regardless of. But as far as my knowledge goes, these 2 words used quite similarly. Can you point out the difference between them?
Thankyou so much.
Wish you have a nice weekend^^

Hello Quynh Nhu,

Despite and regardless of are both followed by nouns (or gerunds) but there is a difference in the meaning.

Despite is used to show a contrast. If we say A happened despite B, then we mean that normally B would stop A or make it less likely. For example:

I got a loan from the bank despite not having a job.

Normally, not having a job would stop me from getting a bank loan, so the contrast/surprise is clear.

 

Regardless of does not show a contrast in the same way. Instead, it shows that a piece of information had no effect. For example:

She won't like you regardless of how nice you are.

Here, the sentence means 'it doesn't matter how nice you are, she still won't like you'. It doesn't tell us whether or not you are nice, just that it won't make any difference.

If we use despite then the meaning changes:

She won't like you despite how nice you are/

Now we know that you are nice, but it is not enough to make her like you.

 

In your example, I think both forms make sense. The choice is really dependent on the facts of the legal/taxation system and the expectations these create rather than the grammar of the sentence. If selling your house would make you expect to pay higher taxes then despite makes sense. If not, then regardles of would be more likely.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Peter M,
THANKYOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR DETAILED ANSWER. I FEEL SO RELEASED WHEN KNOWING THAT I HAVE YOUR SUPPORT ON MY WAY LEARNING THE BEAUTIFUL ENGLISH.

Hi,

Is it wrong to write, "Despite her old age, my grandma leads an active life." Is 'her' redundant?

Hello Leen,

The sentence is fine. It's not old age in general which you are talking about, but your grandma's old age. The use of 'her' makes' this clear.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello! Is there any rule regarding when to use “in spite of” or “despite”??

Hello Marianapr,

You can use these interchangeably as there is no difference in meaning or grammatical structure between them. Both are on the formal side, but I would say that 'despite' is a little more formal than 'in spite of'.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

i have got 5 out of 5. i wanna learn and speak english language fluently..but i dont have money to purchase such expensive courses ..what should i do plz suggest

Hello zulquadah,

The material on LearnEnglish is available free of charge, so you can continue using this as long as you wish. You can find material on different areas and at different levels using the search function at the top of each page.

In my experience the best way to develop language skills is to use the language, so try to find opportunities where you like to practise. Interaction with tourists or visitors to your country, for example, or even just practising with your friends can be very helpful. Reading is also very important. You'll pick up new vocabulary but also develop a feel for things like word order, natural phrasing and so on. There are plenty of sites online with free ebooks, such as Project Gutenberg:

http://www.gutenberg.org/

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks for your courses! Could you please advise me free sites to prepare IELTS exam?

Pages