'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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Submitted by redragons0 on Mon, 06/06/2022 - 20:12

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Hello everyone, although I am a lazy child, I learned this lesson.

Submitted by Solosolix on Sun, 15/05/2022 - 04:03

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Hello team,
I'm stack here! Which one is correct?
1. Even though the room was large, it could not accommodate the audience.
2. Even though the room could not accommodate the audience, it was large.

Hello Solosolix,

The first sentence is correct.

Even though is a linking device which joins two clauses and shows a contrast between them. For example:

Even though it was raining, I went for a walk.

The contrast here is that going for a walk is somewhat surprising given the information in the other clause (it is raining). Thus, even though is used before the problem or difficulty. It is similar in that sense to despite:

I went for a walk despite the fact that it was raining.

In your example the problem or difficulty is the size of the room; the other information happens despite this. Thus, the first sentence is correct.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello sir,
Why the second sentence can't be correct? All these linking words show contrast and it is showing contrast too. I can say: " although the room can accommodate many, it's not large enough." What's wrong with this sentence? 🙏

Hello higirl,

It's not that the second sentence cannot be correct - it is perfectly well formed, grammatically speaking. The problem is, as I said, that we use 'even though' before something that we might expect to create a particular result but which does not. To return to the example I gave earlier:

Even though it was raining, I went for a walk.

The rain is the context; the walk is the result which the context did not stop. Now take a look at what happens if we change the clauses around:

Even though I went for a walk, it was raining.

Now the sentence does not make sense. Going for a walk does not affect the weather in any way, so it cannot be a context with any influence.

 

If we apply this to the original example we can see the problem:

Even though the room was large, it could not accommodate the audience.

This makes sense: the room was large but it was not large enough. Whether or not the room can accommodate the audience is determined by its size.

Even though the room could not accommodate the audience, it was large.

Now the sentence lacks logic. The size of the room does not change according to whether or not it can accommodate the audience.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by diolongom on Thu, 12/05/2022 - 02:46

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Hi,
Even though they'd only known each other for two months, they got engaged.
- question uses they'd? I thought it should've been they've? can someone help me. Thanks!

great website!

Hi diolongom,

Both are grammatically correct. It depends on what the situation is. With present perfect (they've), we are talking about events that are quite recent. It means they met two months ago (i.e., two months before now). With past perfect (they'd), it is longer ago in the past. We know that they got engaged after only knowing each other for two months, but that may have been 5 or 10 years ago, for example - the sentence doesn't tell us how long ago it was. 

I hope that helps.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by KsaOld on Fri, 08/04/2022 - 19:54

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Hello! Thanks so much for this lesson. It really helps

Hi Nadezdaenglish2006,

Actually, it's not a mistake. The article is talking about a that-clause, i.e. that + a subject and verb, as in the bold part here: "He went out without an umbrella, despite the fact that it was raining." The article wants to show that it's incorrect to say "... despite that it was raining."

However, after "In spite of" and "Despite", we can use that as a pronoun, instead of as part of a that-clause. Your sentence is a good example of that.

I hope that helps.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by hadisrashidi74 on Sat, 22/01/2022 - 12:39

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Even though I see you every day, I still miss you when you're not around.

Submitted by aamirmit on Mon, 15/11/2021 - 07:49

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In most of the cases, can we use in spite of and despite interchangeably?

Hello aamirmit,

Yes, they mean the same thing and in most cases they can be used interchangeably.

I can't think of one off the top of my head, but there are probably a few expressions where one is used and the other isn't -- otherwise both work equally well.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by nazmulhaqsmsa on Mon, 15/11/2021 - 07:37

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in spite of being a good teacher, I will help the student.

This sentence is incorrect. Because the two phrases have no overlap.
You can say something like "in spite of not having much free time, I still help my students.

Submitted by NamPHAN on Sun, 07/11/2021 - 05:07

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Although my English is at a pre-intermediate level, I always try to speak English fluently.

Thanks to the LearnEnglish team, people over the world could learn English more easily.

Submitted by Md.Habibullah on Tue, 24/08/2021 - 05:58

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Despite being less thrilling, I like the bus journey. Despite being a great virtue in private life, love doesn't work in public life. Could you tell me about the tense that has been used in the aforementioned sentences?

Hello Md.Habibullah,

There is only one tense used in each sentence:

Despite being less thrilling, I like the bus journey.

Despite being a great virtue in private life, love doesn't work in public life.

The underlined verbs are present simple forms.

In the first sentence the present simple is used to express a preference or emotion; we use present simple for this rather than continous.

In the second sentence the present simple is used to describe something which is generally true.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by RIma0987u on Thu, 08/04/2021 - 13:19

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And also In test 2 3rd one.There is using “in spite of” but because of present simple(sleep well) we can’t

Hi RIma0987u,

The phrase is: ... but in spite of that I sleep well. The phrase in spite of must be followed by a noun phrase, pronoun or gerund (here, it's followed by that, a pronoun, which refers to the partner snoring loudly).

I sleep well is a different clause. It's not part of the in spite of clause.

Does that make sense?

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by RIma0987u on Thu, 08/04/2021 - 13:03

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Hello I can’t understand, why in test 2 last ones answer is although.There is using gerund(she is arriving) and after gerund we use Despite or in spite of

Hi RIma0987u,

The structures are:

  • Although + subject + verb
  • Despite / In spite of + subject (without a verb phrase)

The question says she's arriving late. Here, she is a subject, and 's arriving late is a verb phrase. That's why although is the right option. We can't use despite or in spite of, because they must be followed by a subject only (i.e., a noun phrase, gerund or pronoun, without a verb phrase).

 

A gerund can function as a subject (or an object). It can be in any structure that needs a subject. But actually, in the phrase She is arriving, arriving isn't a gerund. It's a verb in the -ing verb. An -ing form is called a gerund when it functions as a noun. Here, it's not a gerund because it functions as a verb.

I hope that helps :)

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by JohnnyMG on Fri, 26/03/2021 - 18:02

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Hello. Please, I would like to ask something. I noticed that I use THOUGH, ALTHOUGH and EVEN THOUGH before subjects. But what is the rule to use IN SPIT OF?

Hi JohnnyMG,

In spite of is followed by a noun, pronoun or gerund, without a main verb (i.e. not a clause). :)

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by diamanta7 on Mon, 15/03/2021 - 17:32

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The train was cancelled. In spite of that, we arrived on time. we said that after "although" we put a subject and in this phrase we put the subject after " in spit of " so how we can make the difference.

Hi diamanta7,

Although needs to have a subject and a verb after it (i.e. a full clause). But in spite of just needs a noun or pronoun, without a verb.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Maahir on Mon, 15/03/2021 - 07:59

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Hi, could please let me know if these sentences are grammatically right Even though connecting ideas is a bit confusing, I'll try hard to master it. Despite the hard work he did, he failed to pass the exam. Despite of having the necessary qualifications and skills, I wasn't hired for that position. The problem still persists although they told that it was fixed. thanks in advance.
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Submitted by Jonathan R on Thu, 18/03/2021 - 03:33

In reply to by Maahir

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Hi Maahir,

The first two sentences are correct :)

Sentence 3 should be Despite having ... or In spite of having ... (not Despite of, which is not a correct form).

Sentence 4 needs to add the object of told: ... although they told me/us that ...

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

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

In reply to by Jonathan R

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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?

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

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

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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,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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

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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

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This is really a good explenation and I understood it well but i still have doubts on this question. ...my 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,

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

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.