'in spite of', 'despite', 'although', 'even though' and 'though'

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.

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

Do you need to improve your English grammar?
Join thousands of learners from around the world who are improving their English grammar with our online courses.
Average: 4.5 (11 votes)

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

Permalink

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

Permalink

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

Permalink

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