'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)
Dear Jonathan, I am a bit confused why we can't use despite of with the above sentence, because in the Grammar explanation it says that we can use both despite and despite of with noun, gerund(ing- verb) or pronouns. could you kindly explain it more. Thanks

Hi Maahir,

Actually, it says we can use both despite and in spite of (not despite of). Despite of is not a correct form.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by lara05 on Thu, 28/01/2021 - 20:00

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Although I don't have enough time to pratice, I do my best to do it.

Submitted by Laliaf on Fri, 11/12/2020 - 21:17

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Even though I could not understand how to use the conjunctions contrasting words last year, now I find them easy to use.

Submitted by ImaneB on Tue, 13/10/2020 - 10:10

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Even though it's quite complex, i understood the difference between although/even though and in spite of/despite.. However, I think that i need to practice more.
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Submitted by ceylinesp on Sun, 04/10/2020 - 17:23

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Hey! Actually I cant understand that the meaning of "though" is "however". Like that: A:You have six hours in the airport between flights! B:I don’t mind, though. I have lots of work to do. I’ll just bring my laptop with me. A:It’s expensive. B:It’s nice, though. A:Yeah, I think I’ll buy it. Can you explain me the meaning of "tho" in this sentences?
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Submitted by Jonathan R on Mon, 05/10/2020 - 04:24

In reply to by ceylinesp

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Hi ceylinesp,

Yes, in these sentences though has a meaning similar to but or however. (But notice that it has a different position in the sentence.)

  • I don't mind, though. = But I don't mind.
  • It's nice, though. = But it's nice.

Though shows a contrast with something. For example, in the first sentence, six hours to wait is a long time and may be boring. But we can see that person B doesn't mind, which contrasts with what person A thinks.

Does that make sense?

Best wishes,

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Thanusha on Sun, 04/10/2020 - 00:05

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Even though grammar english is quite complex, I start to understand those sentences structures. Despite taking lot of time and lot of work, I’m glad, I understand.

Submitted by Rorro01 on Tue, 08/09/2020 - 20:43

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Even though I practise English an hour per day i haven't seem a greater progress on my language knowledge. I guess i would need to double the time. I'm making an effort on giving an aproppiate comment despite my incomplete studies of the english grammar. Despite of the fact i've studied English at high school and in an Institute i've acknowlegded still need to practise some areas of grammar.

Submitted by wilca on Mon, 10/08/2020 - 22:25

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Dispite the fact you didn't ask me to comment this time, i am doing it. And in spite of that i am planning to do it again! Although i've already made my useful comment below i am doing a second one, i told you... Now, Even though i've already made 2 comments as i am super bored i am doing a third one, i hope you understand. It seems that this guy has nothing to do with his life, was pretty creative, though.
Although i didn't have enough time, I read your comment. I read each sentences even though they weren't super exciting. Despite the fact you are not trying to be funny, comments are really funny. And in spite of that i am trying to reply.
Although I have no time too, I would like to comment in order to do some practice. Despite being my first time using this words, I actually feel comfortable with them. We may be doing another thing, though. Even though I am finishing this letter, I hope I had understood it all. In spite of the fact that I can be writing untill eternity, I have to finish for obvious reasons...

Submitted by flower_dem on Tue, 04/08/2020 - 11:10

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Is there a rule when to use inspite of / despite? Or we could just choose whatever we want when constructing sentences? Same question with although and even though.

Hello flower_dem,

I think despite and in spite of (three words, not one as in your question) are interchangeable; you can use either without it making any difference.

I would say that even though is stronger than although. It signals a more extreme contrast.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by GKALU on Mon, 03/08/2020 - 19:15

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Although i studied high school in English language,i still have some difficulties in some areas.

Submitted by AdrianH on Mon, 27/07/2020 - 16:28

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Why can't I say "Despite she has a job, she is unhappy"

Hello AdrianH,

'Despite' needs to be followed by a direct object. This can be a noun or a gerund (verb-ing).

You could say this:

Despite having a job, she is unhappy.

Despite the fact that she has a job, she is unhappy.

 

Alternatively, you could use a different linking device:

Although she has a job, she is unhappy.

Even though she has a job, she is unhappy.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you so much Mr. Peter, your explanation helped me a lot.

Submitted by Samir.drm on Fri, 24/07/2020 - 12:10

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Although it was raining, they completed the game.
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Submitted by Salum Hilali on Wed, 22/07/2020 - 15:56

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Although I'am a beginner,I have scored 100%

Submitted by NEBANECHE on Sun, 19/07/2020 - 16:16

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I'm very satisfied with my score in both Grammar Tests. I scored a hundred percent. However, I think it's a little too cheap.

Submitted by Prince Edward on Sat, 18/07/2020 - 21:06

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Even though I was not on line these two last days, I've done my best to be connected today.

Submitted by Allate on Sat, 18/07/2020 - 19:51

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These grammar lessons are very useful for revising our grammar. Although and even though mean the same.Despite and in spite of mean he same, we can replace one by the other without changing the meaning of the sentence.

Submitted by Dousambou on Sat, 18/07/2020 - 14:43

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Despite the coronavirus spread, school reopened in Senegal

Submitted by Birane on Sat, 18/07/2020 - 12:29

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These exercises both make me more confident in my grammar teaching. It's very relevant. Thanks a lot.

Submitted by Saamongo on Sat, 18/07/2020 - 11:49

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Despite the fact that i am a teacher, I hate grammar lessons. It's too boring and even though I teach English, I never tried grammar because it's difficult.

Submitted by Saamongo on Sat, 18/07/2020 - 11:34

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I enjoy doing this kind of exercice with students. It helps them think a lot.

Submitted by djibdouk on Sat, 18/07/2020 - 09:43

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I would like to buy a car, even though l haven’t got much money. English is more important than others language, In spite of it take me many times to learn it.

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 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
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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