Contrasting ideas: 'although', 'despite' and others

Contrasting ideas: 'although', 'despite' and others

Do you know how to connect two contrasting ideas with words like although and despite? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

Look at these examples to see how although, even though, in spite of and despite are used.

Although we don't agree, I think she's a brilliant speaker.
Even though we don't agree, I think she's a brilliant speaker.
In spite of the law, people continue to use mobile phones while driving.
Despite the law, people continue to use mobile phones while driving.
It's illegal to use mobile phones while driving. People still do it, though.

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

'in spite of', 'despite', 'although', 'even though' and 'though': Grammar test 1

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

Although, even though, in spite of and despite are all used to link two contrasting ideas or show that one fact makes the other fact surprising. They can all be used at the beginning or in the middle of the sentence. 

Despite the rain, we enjoyed the festival.
We enjoyed the festival, despite the rain.

The main difference between although, even though, in spite of and despite is that they are used with different structures. 

in spite of / despite

After in spite of and despite, we use a noun, gerund (-ing form of a verb) or a pronoun.

They never made much money, in spite of their success.
In spite of the pain in his leg, he completed the marathon.
Despite having a headache, I had a great birthday.
The train was cancelled. In spite of that, we arrived on time.

Note that it is common to use in spite of and despite with the expression the fact that, followed by a subject and verb.

In spite of the fact that he worked very hard, he didn't pass the exam.
Despite the fact that he worked very hard, he didn't pass the exam.

although / even though

After although and even though, we use a subject and a verb. Even though is slightly stronger and more emphatic than although.

I enjoyed the course, although I would have liked more grammar practice.
Although we saw each other every day, we didn't really know each other.
Even though she spoke very quietly, he understood every word.
She didn't get the job, even though she had all the necessary qualifications.

though

Though can be used in the same way as although

Though I wasn't keen on the film, I thought the music was beautiful.

Though can also go at the end of the second phrase. This way of expressing contrasting ideas is most common in spoken English.

We waited ages for our food. The waiter was really nice, though.

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

'in spite of', 'despite', 'although', 'even though' and 'though': Grammar test 2

Language level

Average: 4.1 (126 votes)
Profile picture for user Kirk Moore

Submitted by Kirk Moore on Mon, 12/11/2018 - 08:11

In reply to by Momocompanyman

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Hi Momocompanyman,

It appears that 'food' means the things that people ate at the party. This sentence implies that the food was bad, but that she still enjoyed the party, even though the food was bad.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by qayum2s on Thu, 21/06/2018 - 05:44

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Dear Sir, I hope you are healthy. I have copied two sentences from the first paragraph and I got confused whether should not we put a comma after 'Despite the pain in his leg'? Whereas we have a comma in the second one. Despite the pain in his leg he completed the marathon. Despite having all the necessary qualifications, they didn’t offer me the job.
Profile picture for user Peter M.

Submitted by Peter M. on Thu, 21/06/2018 - 07:10

In reply to by qayum2s

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Hello qayum2s,

While there are some rules regarding comma usage in English, there is also a lot of flexibility. I would not say that either example is incorrect but I would say that a comma between the clauses is the standard way to punctuate such sentences.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Muhammad Erad on Thu, 10/05/2018 - 07:37

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Hello sir! What does "Orwellian and Orwellian non-sense" means? Guide me about its usage too.

Hi Muhammad,

The word 'Orwellian' refers to the thought of English writer George Orwell. If you follow the link, you can read a short explanation in the Wikipedia to learn a more specific meaning for it. If you are very interested in the topic, this short video goes into the topic in more depth.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Muhammad Erad on Tue, 08/05/2018 - 12:23

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Hello, I am Muslim so we eat meal before dawn in the month of Ramadan which is a part of keeping fast. We call it "Sahri Meal" but I want to know what Brits call this meal. A friend of mine said that Brits use word "Pre-dawn Meal". I am very confuse. Kindly guide me.

Hi again Muhammad,

I'm afraid I don't know, but I imagine it varies according to the origin of Muslims -- as you can see in the Wikipedia article, there are different words for it. By the way, our sister site LearnEnglish Teens has a video about a young woman who observed Ramadan -- perhaps this could be of interest to you.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Muhammad Erad on Tue, 08/05/2018 - 07:10

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Hello, which one is correct: "He is observing seclusion" or "He is performing/sitting seclusion"?

Hi Muhammad,

I'm not sure what you mean here, but as far as I know, the word 'seclusion' isn't used with these verbs. People 'go into seclusion' or 'live in seclusion' -- do either of those make sense to you? Or perhaps the word 'retreat' (a time/place for quiet prayer) is what you mean?

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user Winda Asyuni

Submitted by Winda Asyuni on Fri, 04/05/2018 - 08:38

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hello, do you know what's the different between "Although" or "Even though" .Based on the material "even though" is more stronger than "although . what's that means ??