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

Do you know how to connect two contrasting ideas?

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

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Language level

B1 English level (intermediate)
Profile picture for user Aisha na Shadee

Submitted by Aisha na Shadee on Thu, 28/05/2020 - 19:15

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Although she finished her studies with best perfomance she still hasn't got a job. I adviced her to stop searching for a job and start thinking about business Ideas as I know employment is the biggest problem in the world.

Submitted by ohfah on Mon, 04/05/2020 - 15:15

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Even though, in spite of, despite and although are all examples of subordinate conjunctions. So, you shouldn't place a comma after a subordinate clause when it comes after an independent clause in a sentence, right? This means that: I enjoyed the course, although I would have liked more grammar practice. should read: I enjoyed the course; although, I would have liked more grammar practice. There are a number of sentences with comma splices running throughout this article. Am I right here, or am I missing something? Thanks :)

Hello ohfah,

The rules for comma usage are much less fixed than I think you are assuming. A comma is not necessary when the dependent clause follows the independent clause, but one can often be used at the writer's discretion to show a degree of hesitation or reflection.

The sentence you quoted is a good example of this, and I think the version with the comma is far more natural and appropriate than the alternative with a semi-colon, which would strike the majority of people, I think, as rather overwrought.

 

A comma splice is the use of a comma to join two independent clauses. I don't see any examples of this in the text.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, Is there a page here explaining punctuation usage in a detailed way? I never know when to use a semi-colon or a comma even though I read about it thousands of times. I'm always afraid of using the semi-colon incorrectly and I use the comma way too much. Thank you
Profile picture for user Peter M.

Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 24/05/2020 - 07:17

In reply to by H_L

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Hello H_L,

I'm afraid we don't have anything specifically on punctuation other than this page on capital letters and apostrophes:

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/grammar/intermediate-to-upper-intermediate/capital-letters-and-apostrophes

We will add more content on this topic in the future, I think.

 

You can find a lot of information on this online. The best source is often style guides. The Wikipedia Manual of Style is good and can be easily searched:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia%3aManual_of_Style

 

The Guardian and Observer style guide is also helpful:

https://www.theguardian.com/guardian-observer-style-guide-a

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you so much. I appreciate your help.

Submitted by Sidra on Mon, 27/04/2020 - 22:22

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Hello, Is following sentence is complete in its meaning or not? What meaning 'despite that' is giving in following sentence? Despite that, the pie chart shows that over 3/4 of visitors were satisfied or very satisfied in 2015.
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Submitted by Kirk on Tue, 28/04/2020 - 09:23

In reply to by Sidra

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Hello Sidra

I'm afraid I'm not sure what you mean. The sentence is grammatically correct and is a complete sentence. Without knowing what 'that' means, however, I can't say whether it makes sense. I expect it would make sense in context.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by gerardbarrachina on Fri, 24/04/2020 - 19:09

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Very nice lesson. Those were words I couldn't write well and I confused periodically. Thankful to this lesson, from now I will difference them. Thank you!

Submitted by atya on Tue, 21/04/2020 - 12:03

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Hello "She comes out with some good ideas though." I've recently read this sentence and I wonder what's the meaning of "though" in this example? because there is only one idea in this sentence and it's not used to link two contrasting ideas. Thanks for your response
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Submitted by Kirk on Tue, 21/04/2020 - 12:50

In reply to by atya

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Hello atya

As is explained above, 'though' can be used to mean 'however' (to contrast two ideas). It can go at the end of a sentence, especially in spoken English. You can see more examples on this page.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by zabiullah on Fri, 17/04/2020 - 18:10

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although i have practised my lessons, i didnt pass my exam very well. i might be fialed. always my teacher said us, you can practise your lesson as you can but we didnt pay attention. some my classmates did their tasks well, inspite of that they pass exame well. now i know, how to do my homework and study my lessons...

Submitted by itspb008 on Thu, 09/04/2020 - 15:53

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How do I know that a noun and a pronoun are not subject?

Hello itspb008,

The short answer is that you can't know this purely from looking at the words. English has no subject or object markings for nouns, so you have to look at the sentence in which they are used and identify their roles in it.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by mukuljain on Mon, 06/04/2020 - 13:27

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Hello Everyone, I'm little confuse between despite and although as. one of the example - You keep making that stupid noise _____ I've asked you to stop three times. why despite is wrong. It will be really great if anyone can resolve this.

Hello mukuljain,

 

Despite and although both show contrast, but they are used differently in the sentence.

 

Despite is a preposition and is followed by an object.

Although is a conjunction and is followed by a clause.

 

In the example, a clause follows the gap and so despite is not possible. You would need to say despite the fact that to introduce a clause, where the fact is an object.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Peter, In the example quoted by you, will "despite the fact that" be treated as subordinating conjunction to introduce adverb clause or "that"will be the subordinating conjunction used in apposition to "fact" to introduce a Noun clause as in the following example :- The fact that he is not studying is not known. Best regards
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Submitted by Zabihullah on Fri, 03/04/2020 - 20:43

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1: The battery of my phone is recharging, in spite of the fact that it was floating in the swimming pool. 2: My room is not bright enough. I like the lamp, though. 3: Even though I was always present in the class, I failed in the exam. hahahha

Submitted by surya on Fri, 03/04/2020 - 15:20

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Thank you so much, I knew the new grammer.I am clear between the although, In spite of , despite & even though. but I will be done more practice .

Submitted by Khin Nyein Chan on Fri, 03/04/2020 - 07:57

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I get to know true grammar that I didn't know previous.Thank you very much.

Submitted by wcyam10 on Sat, 07/03/2020 - 04:03

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Hi Kirk, May I know what is the meaning of the following sentence? We waited ages for our food. The waiter was really nice, though. Thanks and regards
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Submitted by Peter M. on Sat, 07/03/2020 - 07:35

In reply to by wcyam10

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Hello wycam10,

Which part of the sentence is confusing for you?

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter, I am confused on meaning of "though" and why it has to be at the end of the sentence most of the time?

Hi wycam10,

We use though to show a contrast. For example:

I carried on working, though I was very tired.

Though I was very tired, I carried on working.

The fact I carred on working is surprising, because I was very tired, but I did not stop. It's a similar meaning to however.

 

In the example above, though is a conjunction joining two sentences. We can also use two sentences and put though at the end of the second sentence:

I carried on working. I was very tired, though.

Your sentence is similar to this.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by Josh on Fri, 13/03/2020 - 16:55

In reply to by wcyam10

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I think we can change the sentences like this: "Even though we waited a lot of time for our food, the waiter was really nice". In different words the food was on late but the waiter was nice... I'm not a teacher (please forgive me) but e student. I tried to answer your question only in the hope that a true teacher corrects me too!

Hello Josh,

That's a good explanation. Though here balances the negative of the slow food with the positive of the nice waiter. It has a similar meaning to on the other hand.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter In the example sentence given in the website, is "inspite of /despite the fact that" used as compound subordinating conjunction? Can similarly seeing that/considering that be taken as subordinating conjunctions Thanks

Submitted by Bharati on Thu, 05/03/2020 - 12:28

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Hello Kirk, I have doubt in the example "in spite of /despitethe fact that he is highly educated, he doesn't conduct himself well".Here can "in spite of the fact that" be considered as subordinating conjunction. Likewise if we use considering that/given that/Notwithstanding that.Will these be considered "compound subordinating conjunctions " Thanks
Hello, May i seek your valuable clarification on compound subordinating conjunctions as sought above. Regards

Submitted by Thefemalejordan on Thu, 27/02/2020 - 10:46

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Kindly help with this sentence pls In spite of the very hot weather,Kevin stepped out to buy some bread Begin with despite In how many ways can we answer this?

Hello Thefemalejordan

You could say 'Despite the hot weather, Kevin ...'

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Heather Mackay on Wed, 26/02/2020 - 10:16

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Feeling as in feeling sad/ sick etc can be used with in spite of, despite, although, even though, and though In spite of feeling sad, he decided to go to the party Despite feeling etc and for although, even though and though

Submitted by Tobias Hein on Tue, 25/02/2020 - 05:52

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I want to lnow can I use this sentence,in spite of his very hard work,he failed the exam.

Hello Tobias Hein,

In spite of his very hard work, he failed the exam.

The sentence is perfectly correct and you can certainly use it.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Dina Diab on Sun, 16/02/2020 - 23:50

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Hi Kirk, Sorry if my question seemed kinda irrelevant to the main topic. but, I'd like to ask you how to use "however" and whether it follows a comma or a semicolon? Thank you for considering my question.
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Submitted by Kirk on Mon, 17/02/2020 - 06:18

In reply to by Dina Diab

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Hello Dina Diab

A comma is often used near or immediately before or after 'however'. What I'd recommend is that you take a look at the example sentences in the dictionary entry, where you can see these different uses. If you have any questions after reading them, or if you want to try a few sentences here, please don't hesitate.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Jamba on Wed, 12/02/2020 - 00:55

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Although I was sick I went at work. I decided to make peace with my friend, even though I didn’t like him. Although some people like living in the city I like to live in the Countryside.
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Submitted by Pratapsingh on Thu, 09/01/2020 - 05:54

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Dear sir, Can you please tell the error in the following sentences and is it correct to use 'although' this way? 1) Hot and humid although (a)/ the weather was,(b)/we kept fighting to win the (c)/ match till the end of the match. (d)/ no error (e) 2) immensely talented although (a)/ he is, he never (b)/helped India to win a (c)/ final match on his own.(d)/ no error (e)
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Submitted by Kirk on Thu, 09/01/2020 - 06:29

In reply to by Pratapsingh

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Hello Pratapsingh

In an older style or perhaps in verse, it's correct to use 'although' in this way, but in most speaking or writing these days both of these sentence would sound quite strange (though intelligible). A more standard phrasing would be 'Although the weather was hot and humid, ...'

Other than that, I don't see any other grammatical errors.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Momocompanyman on Fri, 03/01/2020 - 10:01

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Hello Mr Kirk , I can't understand the difference between in spite of and despite ?

Hello Momocompanyman,

There is no difference between despite and in spite of in meaning or grammatical function, and you can use the two interchangeably.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lubnaaliraqia on Tue, 24/12/2019 - 17:59

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Thank you so much for benefit.

Submitted by Arash Yekta on Mon, 23/12/2019 - 17:51

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Hello, Sorry to leave a question here about "unless". I didn't find a section in grammar part of the site under which "unless" is explained. On what condition, should subjunctive be used after "unless"?
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Submitted by Kirk on Tue, 24/12/2019 - 07:38

In reply to by Arash Yekta

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Hello Arash Yekta

As far as I know, it's unusual to use a subjunctive form after 'unless' in spoken or written English. It was perhaps more common in the past, but off the top of my head, the only time I can think of to use it would be in a kind of second conditional. For example, 'If we had time, we'd go skiing, unless there was no snow', though really I would say 'but only if there was snow' instead of 'unless there was no snow' because it sounds a little odd to me.

You can see some examples of 'unless' with a subjunctive verb on the Wikipedia English subjunctive page, but please note these sound very odd to modern ears. In general, I'd recommend this Cambridge dictionary page for general reference.

Hope this helps.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Loc Dang on Sun, 22/12/2019 - 14:03

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Hello, I have a question in the grammar test 1 as follows: I completely forgot to post the letter, _____ him reminding me in the morning. The correct answer is "in spite of". I don't understand the grammatical role of "him" in this sentence. Thank you in advance
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Submitted by Kirk on Mon, 23/12/2019 - 07:28

In reply to by Loc Dang

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Hello Loc Dang

'him reminding me in the morning' is the object of 'in spite of'. Since it is an object, this is why the form 'him' is used here. At the same time, 'him' is the subject of the verb phrase 'him reminding me in the morning'. I imagine that might seem a little strange, but it is correct.

Does that help you make sense of it?

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by emma charles on Fri, 01/11/2019 - 10:21

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Why is there not a difference between 'in spite of' and 'despite', I'm not sure if I've just always known this wrong but they have different meanings to me. I thought 'in spite of' meant that you were doing something because of the other thing. For example, if you were doing something in spite of the law, you are doing it because you are purposely trying to break the law. Whereas, I thought despite meant you are doing something regardless of the other thing. For example, if you are doing something despite the law, even though you know its illegal you do it anyway, but you are not doing it because you want to break the law. I'm not sure how well I explained myself here but I think my confusion comes from the word 'spite'. If doing something 'out of spite' means you are doing it out of annoyance, I guess I just thought that 'in spite' meant a similar thing. I'm honestly just still confused, saying something like "The train was cancelled. In spite of that, we arrived on time" just doesn't right to me because you didn't arrive on time because you were annoyed about the train being cancelled.