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

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 (126 votes)

Submitted by victguevara on Sun, 16/04/2023 - 15:05

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I loved moving to another big city even though I would have preferred to choose one with better quality of life.
Despite the fact that there are sort of beautiful environment nearby, I would have chosen a city which has given me and my family better opportunities for a good living.
Although I have been blessed with great jobs opportunity, I would have studied more to improve my career development.

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Submitted by dipakrgandhi on Sun, 16/04/2023 - 04:43

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Apologies, if I am not asking my question in right section!

How can 'Barter' and 'Haggle' be synonymous! That is the solution in crossword I am solving. I have browsed dictionary entries, but what I infer is they have different meanings. Please advise.

Regards
Dipak R Gandhi

Hello Dipak,

I don't think they are synonymous. Barter is a form of transaction involving the exchange of goods or services directly without the use of money. Haggle is the action of negotiating a price by offer and counter offer.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by jjjjkkkll on Sat, 04/02/2023 - 20:00

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How many shops are open during the night?
Choose the correct option
Only one of the shops is open during the night
Only one of the shops are open during the night

Hello jjjjkkkll,

It's just one shop so the singular form is the correct one.

All the best,
Kirk
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by achachou on Thu, 10/11/2022 - 11:58

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1a. The lawyer called the police. The thief escaped.
b. Despite the lawyer calling the police, the thief escaped.

I'd like to know if the use of DESPITE is correct. Thanks.