'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

Language level

Intermediate: B1
I would like to buy a car, even though l haven’t got much money. English is more important than others language, In spite of it take me many times to learn it.
Even though I hate tennis, I’m going to watch the final. Although I hate tennis, I’m going to watch the final. Despite the fact I hate tennis, I’m going to watch the final. I’m going to watch the final, in spite of hating tennis.
Even though I think my grammar is excellent, I had problems with grammar rules of despite, although and even though. Despite my tryings, I made some mistakes.

Hello Alaa El Baddini

'although' is correct here. To use 'despite', it would be better to say 'Despite the fact that running his business is risky'. Saying 'Despite running' sounds unnatural because of the clause with a verb that follows it.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Claudia,

Saying 'despite running his business is risky' sounds unnatural since 'running his business is risky' is a clause. If it were just 'despite the risks of running his business' (which is not a clause because 'running' is not a finite verb), that would be OK. But if we keep the clause 'running his business is risky', it's best to say 'despite the fact that running his business is risky'. That's probably what most people would say in this situation.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Even though I can't speak well english In spite of I am practicing to speak to better speaking.
Although there are always so many things to do at home on an everyday basis, I despite of that, do my study almost every evening. Even though I consider my memory as good as it should be, I have to go through learning materials the next morning for better memorising.
Even though I had an umbrella, I was wet. This is because I didn't have big enough umbrella.
Although she finished her studies with best perfomance she still hasn't got a job. I adviced her to stop searching for a job and start thinking about business Ideas as I know employment is the biggest problem in the world.
Even though, in spite of, despite and although are all examples of subordinate conjunctions. So, you shouldn't place a comma after a subordinate clause when it comes after an independent clause in a sentence, right? This means that: I enjoyed the course, although I would have liked more grammar practice. should read: I enjoyed the course; although, I would have liked more grammar practice. There are a number of sentences with comma splices running throughout this article. Am I right here, or am I missing something? Thanks :)

Hello ohfah,

The rules for comma usage are much less fixed than I think you are assuming. A comma is not necessary when the dependent clause follows the independent clause, but one can often be used at the writer's discretion to show a degree of hesitation or reflection.

The sentence you quoted is a good example of this, and I think the version with the comma is far more natural and appropriate than the alternative with a semi-colon, which would strike the majority of people, I think, as rather overwrought.

 

A comma splice is the use of a comma to join two independent clauses. I don't see any examples of this in the text.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, Is there a page here explaining punctuation usage in a detailed way? I never know when to use a semi-colon or a comma even though I read about it thousands of times. I'm always afraid of using the semi-colon incorrectly and I use the comma way too much. Thank you

Hello H_L,

I'm afraid we don't have anything specifically on punctuation other than this page on capital letters and apostrophes:

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/grammar/intermediate-to-upper-intermediate/capital-letters-and-apostrophes

We will add more content on this topic in the future, I think.

 

You can find a lot of information on this online. The best source is often style guides. The Wikipedia Manual of Style is good and can be easily searched:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia%3aManual_of_Style

 

The Guardian and Observer style guide is also helpful:

https://www.theguardian.com/guardian-observer-style-guide-a

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, Is following sentence is complete in its meaning or not? What meaning 'despite that' is giving in following sentence? Despite that, the pie chart shows that over 3/4 of visitors were satisfied or very satisfied in 2015.

Hello Sidra

I'm afraid I'm not sure what you mean. The sentence is grammatically correct and is a complete sentence. Without knowing what 'that' means, however, I can't say whether it makes sense. I expect it would make sense in context.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Very nice lesson. Those were words I couldn't write well and I confused periodically. Thankful to this lesson, from now I will difference them. Thank you!
Hello "She comes out with some good ideas though." I've recently read this sentence and I wonder what's the meaning of "though" in this example? because there is only one idea in this sentence and it's not used to link two contrasting ideas. Thanks for your response

Hello atya

As is explained above, 'though' can be used to mean 'however' (to contrast two ideas). It can go at the end of a sentence, especially in spoken English. You can see more examples on this page.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

although i have practised my lessons, i didnt pass my exam very well. i might be fialed. always my teacher said us, you can practise your lesson as you can but we didnt pay attention. some my classmates did their tasks well, inspite of that they pass exame well. now i know, how to do my homework and study my lessons...

Hello itspb008,

The short answer is that you can't know this purely from looking at the words. English has no subject or object markings for nouns, so you have to look at the sentence in which they are used and identify their roles in it.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Everyone, I'm little confuse between despite and although as. one of the example - You keep making that stupid noise _____ I've asked you to stop three times. why despite is wrong. It will be really great if anyone can resolve this.

Hello mukuljain,

 

Despite and although both show contrast, but they are used differently in the sentence.

 

Despite is a preposition and is followed by an object.

Although is a conjunction and is followed by a clause.

 

In the example, a clause follows the gap and so despite is not possible. You would need to say despite the fact that to introduce a clause, where the fact is an object.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Peter, In the example quoted by you, will "despite the fact that" be treated as subordinating conjunction to introduce adverb clause or "that"will be the subordinating conjunction used in apposition to "fact" to introduce a Noun clause as in the following example :- The fact that he is not studying is not known. Best regards
1: The battery of my phone is recharging, in spite of the fact that it was floating in the swimming pool. 2: My room is not bright enough. I like the lamp, though. 3: Even though I was always present in the class, I failed in the exam. hahahha
Thank you so much, I knew the new grammer.I am clear between the although, In spite of , despite & even though. but I will be done more practice .
Hi Kirk, May I know what is the meaning of the following sentence? We waited ages for our food. The waiter was really nice, though. Thanks and regards

Hello wycam10,

Which part of the sentence is confusing for you?

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi wycam10,

We use though to show a contrast. For example:

I carried on working, though I was very tired.

Though I was very tired, I carried on working.

The fact I carred on working is surprising, because I was very tired, but I did not stop. It's a similar meaning to however.

 

In the example above, though is a conjunction joining two sentences. We can also use two sentences and put though at the end of the second sentence:

I carried on working. I was very tired, though.

Your sentence is similar to this.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I think we can change the sentences like this: "Even though we waited a lot of time for our food, the waiter was really nice". In different words the food was on late but the waiter was nice... I'm not a teacher (please forgive me) but e student. I tried to answer your question only in the hope that a true teacher corrects me too!

Hello Josh,

That's a good explanation. Though here balances the negative of the slow food with the positive of the nice waiter. It has a similar meaning to on the other hand.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter In the example sentence given in the website, is "inspite of /despite the fact that" used as compound subordinating conjunction? Can similarly seeing that/considering that be taken as subordinating conjunctions Thanks
Hello Kirk, I have doubt in the example "in spite of /despitethe fact that he is highly educated, he doesn't conduct himself well".Here can "in spite of the fact that" be considered as subordinating conjunction. Likewise if we use considering that/given that/Notwithstanding that.Will these be considered "compound subordinating conjunctions " Thanks
Hello, May i seek your valuable clarification on compound subordinating conjunctions as sought above. Regards
Kindly help with this sentence pls In spite of the very hot weather,Kevin stepped out to buy some bread Begin with despite In how many ways can we answer this?
Feeling as in feeling sad/ sick etc can be used with in spite of, despite, although, even though, and though In spite of feeling sad, he decided to go to the party Despite feeling etc and for although, even though and though
I want to lnow can I use this sentence,in spite of his very hard work,he failed the exam.
Hi Kirk, Sorry if my question seemed kinda irrelevant to the main topic. but, I'd like to ask you how to use "however" and whether it follows a comma or a semicolon? Thank you for considering my question.

Hello Dina Diab

A comma is often used near or immediately before or after 'however'. What I'd recommend is that you take a look at the example sentences in the dictionary entry, where you can see these different uses. If you have any questions after reading them, or if you want to try a few sentences here, please don't hesitate.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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