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 (111 votes)

Submitted by Mikael321 on Thu, 16/07/2020 - 04:53

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Even though I hate tennis, I’m going to watch the final. Although I hate tennis, I’m going to watch the final. Despite the fact I hate tennis, I’m going to watch the final. I’m going to watch the final, in spite of hating tennis.

Submitted by Dastenova Firuza on Sun, 12/07/2020 - 10:28

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Even though I think my grammar is excellent, I had problems with grammar rules of despite, although and even though. Despite my tryings, I made some mistakes.

Submitted by Alaa El Baddini on Wed, 24/06/2020 - 09:12

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(although/despite) running his business is risky, he loves it

Hello Alaa El Baddini

'although' is correct here. To use 'despite', it would be better to say 'Despite the fact that running his business is risky'. Saying 'Despite running' sounds unnatural because of the clause with a verb that follows it.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Claudia,

Saying 'despite running his business is risky' sounds unnatural since 'running his business is risky' is a clause. If it were just 'despite the risks of running his business' (which is not a clause because 'running' is not a finite verb), that would be OK. But if we keep the clause 'running his business is risky', it's best to say 'despite the fact that running his business is risky'. That's probably what most people would say in this situation.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by Karan Narang on Mon, 22/06/2020 - 04:26

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Even though I can't speak well english In spite of I am practicing to speak to better speaking.

Submitted by IrinaMB on Wed, 03/06/2020 - 10:04

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Although there are always so many things to do at home on an everyday basis, I despite of that, do my study almost every evening. Even though I consider my memory as good as it should be, I have to go through learning materials the next morning for better memorising.

Submitted by Emily Mellor on Sat, 30/05/2020 - 11:25

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Even though I had an umbrella, I was wet. This is because I didn't have big enough umbrella.
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Submitted by Aishaika 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.