'in spite of', 'despite', 'although', 'even though' and 'though'

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.

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

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Average: 4.5 (11 votes)
Profile picture for user Kirk Moore

Submitted by Kirk Moore on Thu, 08/08/2019 - 08:43

In reply to by Leen

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Hello Leen

Yes, both of these sentences are correct and even other tenses are possible, e.g. 'In spite of the fact that I live in Spain, I am not Spanish.'

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Marakistef on Wed, 19/06/2019 - 11:44

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I need a similar meaning. Would be very nice if someone would help. In spite of the doctor's orders, she went to the game. And: She went to the game anyway, doctor's orders __________. (1 word)

Hello Marakistef

You could say 'notwithstanding' there and it would have the same meaning.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by nanmyatmoeaye on Thu, 02/05/2019 - 07:05

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It is a useful exercise.

Submitted by Donald Harrison on Fri, 08/03/2019 - 05:20

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Hello, I have constructed a sentence using 'although' . Could you please tell me if there this is correct? Although innovation is important for progression of humanity, removing traditions completely from our society would not greatly enhance the prospects of progress.
Profile picture for user Peter M.

Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 08/03/2019 - 08:06

In reply to by Donald Harrison

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Hello Donald,

That sentence has only one error: it should be the progression of humanity.

The definite article is necessary here.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Inas Elshinnawy on Sat, 23/02/2019 - 08:37

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Hi, I really can't grasp the difference between however and although ! Would you please clarify this? Would you refer to a grammar book that explains this difference ? Thanks in advance Inas
Profile picture for user Kirk Moore

Submitted by Kirk Moore on Sun, 24/02/2019 - 08:09

In reply to by Inas Elshinnawy

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Hello Inas

There is a detailed explanation on this BBC page describing different linking words to express contrast and I would recommend taking a close look at. In general, 'however' means 'but' and 'although' means something like 'despite the fact that'.

One important difference my students sometimes struggle with is that with 'although', both of the things that are being contrasted must be in the same sentence as the word 'although'. For example, you can say 'Although I didn't enjoy the film, I think it deserves an award.' but NOT 'I think it deserves an award. Although I didn't enjoy the film.'

Unlike 'although', 'however' can be used in a separate sentence: 'I didn't enjoy the film. However, I think it deserves an award.' Or you can also put both ideas in the same sentence 'I didn't enjoy the film; however, I think it deserves an award.'

Note also that 'although' is not followed by a comma and 'however' is followed by a comma.

I hope this helps you!

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

 

Submitted by Hope-hope on Thu, 21/02/2019 - 10:32

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Hello! It is said here that after in spite of and despite we use a noun or a pronoun. What rules explain this usage: In spite of what I said yesterday I still love you. OR In spite of all that has been said, they have been doing what they think is right.