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)

Submitted by pablito on Thu, 08/04/2021 - 05:41

In reply to by Jonathan R

Hi, but the first sentence says: connecting... is a gerund so why she didn't use Despite or in spite of....gerund followed by a subject (or noun)

Hi pablito,

Good question :) It's because there's not only a gerund in the clause. There's a verb phrase too (underlined): Even though connecting ideas is a bit confusing, ... . After Even though, we need to put a subject and a verb phrase. A gerund can function as a subject.


After Despite or In spite of, we put a gerund, noun or pronoun, without a verb phrase. So, we could say something like this, with a similar meaning:

  • Despite my confusion about connecting ideas, I'll try hard to master it. (The underlined part is a noun phrase).

Does that make sense?


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Aglaia on Tue, 02/03/2021 - 06:48

Hello, I see that "even if" is not listed, is it wrong? If it's accepted, could you tell me if it's standard English or colloquial?

Hello Aglaia,

'even if' is a bit different from 'even though' or 'although'. 'even though' refers to a real situation. For example, in the last example sentence above, the woman didn't get the job despite having the required qualifications -- we understand from this that the woman applied for the job and perhaps even had an interview.

In contrast, 'even if' typically refers to imaginary situations. So if we said 'She won't get the job even if she has the qualifications', we're imagining a situation that doesn't exist yet.

I'd suggest having a look at this one-minute video on this topic from BBC Learning English.

Hope this helps.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team


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Submitted by MARUFA MARJAN … (not verified) on Fri, 19/02/2021 - 10:54

Hello admin can you tell me how can I find topics about "as if"... Or it would be kind enough if you could help me understand the correct grammatical structure of "as if" as I'm slightly confused about it's structure...thank you in advance

Submitted by Memmedeva Nezrin on Sat, 30/01/2021 - 08:00

This is really a good explenation and I understood it well but i still have doubts on this question. careful planning,we ended up staying in a really bad hotel Despite Although Even though Is it grammatically correct to use both despite and despite of in this sentence?Or we cant use despite with of?

Hi Memmedeva Nezrin,

That's right, we can't use despite with of. But, there is a similar phrase: In spite of. It means the same thing as despite, so it fits in your example sentence too.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team