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 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 (110 votes)
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.


The LearnEnglish Team

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

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

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

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

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


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,


The LearnEnglish Team

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

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

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.