'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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Language level

Submitted by Muhammad Erad on Tue, 08/05/2018 - 12:23

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Hello, I am Muslim so we eat meal before dawn in the month of Ramadan which is a part of keeping fast. We call it "Sahri Meal" but I want to know what Brits call this meal. A friend of mine said that Brits use word "Pre-dawn Meal". I am very confuse. Kindly guide me.

Hi again Muhammad,

I'm afraid I don't know, but I imagine it varies according to the origin of Muslims -- as you can see in the Wikipedia article, there are different words for it. By the way, our sister site LearnEnglish Teens has a video about a young woman who observed Ramadan -- perhaps this could be of interest to you.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Muhammad Erad on Tue, 08/05/2018 - 07:10

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Hello, which one is correct: "He is observing seclusion" or "He is performing/sitting seclusion"?

Hi Muhammad,

I'm not sure what you mean here, but as far as I know, the word 'seclusion' isn't used with these verbs. People 'go into seclusion' or 'live in seclusion' -- do either of those make sense to you? Or perhaps the word 'retreat' (a time/place for quiet prayer) is what you mean?

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Winda Asyuni on Fri, 04/05/2018 - 08:38

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hello, do you know what's the different between "Although" or "Even though" .Based on the material "even though" is more stronger than "although . what's that means ??

Submitted by Peter M. on Sat, 05/05/2018 - 07:28

In reply to by Winda Asyuni

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Hello Winda Asyuni,

The meanings of although and even though are the same: both introduce a contrasting fact which makes an action or event less likely or surprising. For example:

Although it was raining, I went for a walk.

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

People usally choose to stay inside when the weather is bad, so the fact that it was raining makes my choice more surprising.

The difference between them is strength, that is how surprising the action was in this situation. Of course, this is a very subjective question. The speaker may consider a particular context to be a particularly powerful difficulty:

I went for a walk even though there was a thunderstorm!

On the other hand the speaker might choose even though simply for rhetorical effect because they want to emphasise just how difficult the situation was, or just how determined they were in their action. In the end it is a choice for the speaker, just as many choices in language are.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Muhammad Erad on Thu, 03/05/2018 - 10:51

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Kindly tell me differences of the following: 1) Passion and Comittment 2) Involved and Indulged 3) Me and You/You and I Basically I am translating an Islamic lecture and I need to use modest words that is why I am asking difference because as of my opinion "Involved" is modest word if we use it instead of "Indulged".

Hello Muhammad Erad,

The best source for you is a good dictionary, or rather several dictionaries so that you can compare their definitions. I would recommend the following:

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/

https://www.merriam-webster.com/

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/

 

However, please remember that the context is crucial. Without knowing the full context in which a word is to be used it is impossible to be sure which word is appropriate. For example, passion can be used to mean great enthusiasm or commitment:

I have always had a great passion for Shakespeare's tragedies.

The lawyer's arguments were expressed with great passion.

Passion can also refer to desire for another person:

He looked at her with great passion.

After twenty years of marriage their passion for one another was still strong.

 

These are choices which can only be made with knowledge of the context and the intended meaning - problems which afflict any translator!

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello mohamedfathy,

Grammatically that is fine but it makes the sentence sound more formal when you use 'although'. In normal everyday speech on topics such as in your examples we would use 'but' rather than 'although'. In more formal speech or in more formal writing 'although' would be more likely.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by foofighters12 on Tue, 31/10/2017 - 16:39

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I Feel happy i scored 100%

Submitted by Mohsen.k77 on Fri, 28/07/2017 - 07:33

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Hi, could u please tell me whats the differences between "nonetheless" and "even though" as conjunctions? tnx

Submitted by Peter M. on Sat, 29/07/2017 - 06:56

In reply to by Mohsen.k77

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Hi Mohsen.k77,

In terms of style, 'nonetheless' is quite formal whereas 'even though' is more neutral. 'Nonetheless' begins a new sentence but 'even though' can be also be used in the middle of a sentence.

In terms of use, there is a big difference. Both describe something surprising but where 'nonetheless' introduces a result, 'even though' comes before a obstacle.

For example:

I did the job even though I was tired. [surprising result + even though + obstacle/problem]

I was tired. Nonetheless, I did the job. [obstacle/problem + nonetheless + surprising result]

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Fru Strande on Sat, 15/07/2017 - 08:05

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I have enjoyed a lot with the exercises here. It twists my head and that is pretty good.

Submitted by RAMS on Wed, 26/04/2017 - 10:26

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I fell happy that I am able to score 100%

Submitted by taj25 on Tue, 27/12/2016 - 12:31

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despite & in spite of we will use only past tense or it can every tense. pls clarify me.thanks a lot

Submitted by Omie Hesham on Fri, 02/12/2016 - 08:20

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Hi, I had an English exam 3 days ago and I got the result yeaterday I was surprised I that I made a mistake so when I asked about the mistake he told me it waa the sentence "despite Ali being strong, he couldn't carry the bag" so I was wondering of it's actually incorrect or not. Thanks

Submitted by Kirk on Fri, 02/12/2016 - 14:07

In reply to by Omie Hesham

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Hello Omie Hesham,

We don't really comment on other writers, sites, or teachers, but your teacher is right. If you want to use a subject after 'despite' - see the Cambridge Dictionary's grammar for an explanation.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Widescreen on Thu, 24/11/2016 - 18:16

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thank you very much

Submitted by Widescreen on Wed, 23/11/2016 - 13:42

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I couldn't find the article on phrases of reason so please accept my apologise for posting on this topic. I ave a question regarding phrase: Because of " Mary will not walk across the bridge because she is afraid of heights" Can I rewrite it as: Mary will not walk across the bridge because of HER BEING afraid of heights" OR " Mary will not walk across the bridge because of her fear of heights" It seems like the later sounds more natural but I want to know if the earlier sentence is also correct. thank you.

Hello Widescreen,

Yes, both of the sentences you suggest are correct. You're also right that the second one is much more natural.

Perhaps you meant this page? In any case, no worries.

Good work!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Berrymay on Sun, 20/11/2016 - 06:53

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Hey, The essay says "After in spite of and despite we use a noun or a pronoun.", and l have no questions about it, but l am really confused by that sentence -- It was recognized that despite the English learning programs designed to equip migrants with the language… Is it wrong? Because we can only use noun or pronoun after despite, but it used the verb-ed "designed", so could you please help me to figure out the question? looking forword to the replay.

Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 20/11/2016 - 08:22

In reply to by Berrymay

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Hello Berrymay,

In your example we have a long noun phrase, which functions just as a one-word noun would. In terms of the sentence the noun phrase is a group of words which act together as a grammatical unit - a subject or an objet, for example. In your example the noun phrase is 'the English learning programs designed to equip migrants with the language'. You can see this because the whole noun phrase could be used as the subject of a verb:

The English learning programs designed to equip migrants with the language are great.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Peter, thanks a lot, l have got it. But...there is another question. "Over half of the solicitors and barristers survey indicated that many of their non-English speaking clients were accompanied by a friend or relative who could assist the inetrpreting." Is there any mistake in this sentence? I am doing error correction, and it is difinitely difficult for me, could you help me to correct the sentence? Please~ thanks, thanks, thanks!

Hello Berrymay,

I'm afraid we don't provide help with exercises and tests from outside of our pages. These are for you to do! If we start offering a service to do our users' tests or homework for them then we will have no time for anything else!

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by JHE on Thu, 10/11/2016 - 11:14

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You say despite being bitten is correct because despite can be followed by a gerund. But what about this one? I enjoy living in the town centre, despite being so noisy According to my grammar it is not correct.

Hello JHE,

The problem with the sentence is that in the way it is constructed there really needs to be a clause after 'despite'. You could do this by saying 'the fact that' after 'despite' (which is similar to 'que' in 'a pesar de que' in Spanish): 'I enjoy living in the centre, despite the fact that it is so noisy.' Or, even better, you could just remove the -ing form and 'so': 'I enjoy living in the centre despite the noise'. Except in some very specific context, this means exactly the same thing.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Pritam Kumar Dutta on Sun, 09/10/2016 - 04:40

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Hello sir, Please help me ! What is the different usage between "although" and "despite the fact that" when showing contrast. I am really confused about it because both of them are used with clause. Please explain. Thanks in advance.

Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 09/10/2016 - 07:40

In reply to by Pritam Kumar Dutta

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Hello Protam Kumar Dutta,

There is no difference in terms of what follows each of these:

I passed the exam, although I had not revised.

I passed the exam, despite the fact that I had not revised.

The difference is in the formality and strength of the items. Although is neutral and can be used in both informal and formal contexts. Despite the fact that (and the similar in spirt of the fact that) tend to be used in more formal contexts and are more common in written than spoken English.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by daysemelonio on Tue, 04/10/2016 - 02:22

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Hello, Although, is the most common isnt' it? It's a good and polite way to right a business e-mail or talk with friends? Thanks, Dayse

Submitted by Peter M. on Tue, 04/10/2016 - 06:13

In reply to by daysemelonio

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Hello Dayse,

Of these three linkers I would say that 'although' and its alternative 'though' are the most common. These are neutral words with regard to formality so they can be used in both formal and informal communication.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Mariam32 on Wed, 21/09/2016 - 22:34

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May you explain more "despite being bitten" Why we must use being .. And it is "Despite the fact of" or "Despite the fact that" or bothe are right ?

Hell Mariam32,

After 'despite' we use a noun or a gerund, which is a noun formed from a verb by adding -ing. 'Being' is a gerund.

We usually say 'Despite the fact that...' (followed by a subject and verb).

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by skushuma on Mon, 19/09/2016 - 07:59

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Dear English Team, I have English sound Issue.I do not speak English clearly. It is very difficult for other people to comprehend with me . How can I over come these issue myself? Kindly give tips. With Warms Regards, Suraj Kumar

Hello Suraj Kumar,

I think the best thing would be to work with a teacher. If there's a British Council near you, that might be a place where you could find an appropriate class.

Otherwise, I'd suggest you use the audio and/or video materials in Listen & Watch. For example, you could use Elementary Podcasts. Listen to an episode and then try to imitate the pronunciation as best you can. It's important to proceed slowly in the beginning - your mouth will probably feel uncomfortable, but with practise, this strange feeling should diminish and it should become easier to pronounce. The Cambridge Dictionary, which has recordings of the pronunciation of most of its entries, could also be really useful.

Good luck!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by SatyaD on Fri, 26/08/2016 - 19:02

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A book's book ------------------- there is nothing. (Although/yet/till ) Which is best to fill the sentence, and is there any rule Regards SatayD

Hello SatyaD,

I'm afraid we don't provide an answer service for tasks from elsewhere or from homework or tests! If we tried then we would never have time for any other work. I can say, however, that the sentence does not look a grammatically correct sentence to me whichever option is chosen.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Tapan100 on Thu, 25/08/2016 - 18:58

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(1) Although the boy has fever , yet he will take part in the competition. (2) Although the goal-keeper was responsible for the defeat in the important football match , nobody blamed him. I think both sentence correct but confused without 'yet' is the second sentence gramatically correct, need explanation

Hello Tapan100,

The second sentence is correct, but the first needs to be changed. We would generally use either 'although' or 'yet', but not both together:

Although the boy has fever, he will take part in the competition.

The boy has fever, yet he will take part in the competition.

The sentence with 'yet' here is more formal and literary-sounding.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by maynaing on Fri, 01/07/2016 - 09:20

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Despite the fact that I am working, I feels so sleepy.

Submitted by nguyen thi hong lien on Sun, 26/06/2016 - 16:00

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Although I was tired i am working full today.

Submitted by alixmanx on Thu, 26/05/2016 - 11:27

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you are not able to get out me of your life although I love you so much. '' although or anothers ?

Hello alixmanx,

I'm afraid I don't understand what you want to say well enough to be able to help very much with this sentence. One correction is to change the first part to 'get me out of your life'. 'although' doesn't really make sense to me, but I don't know what you want to say, so it's difficult to suggest another word. Perhaps 'because'?

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by alixmanx on Thu, 26/05/2016 - 11:23

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Thank you very much everyone who share here....

Submitted by swiftyswifty on Wed, 20/04/2016 - 18:35

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Despite of the bad weather, there was a large crowd at the match. - this doesn't look like a correct sentence to me I would delete the word "of" in this case

Hello swiftyswifty,

That's correct – the word 'of' is not correct here.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team