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

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Submitted by Hosseinpour on Sat, 15/07/2023 - 08:10

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Hello respected team,
The price of oil is rising steadily, which, in turn, has led to the price of gasoline rising at the pumps.
Why "which" is between two commas? Is it because of "in turn"?
Thank you

Hello Hosseinpour,

The comma before 'which' is grammatical as you have a non-defining relative clause (which...). These are always separated from the main clause by commas.

The other commas are stylistic. The phrase 'in turn' is an additional piece of information which is really rhetorical in nature. It can be thought of as an aside – a comment added by the speaker to clarify or develop what is being said – and it is common for these to be surrounded by commas.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Hosseinpour on Wed, 12/07/2023 - 12:45

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Respected team,
Although you are in the middle of the city, you feel as if you are in the countryside.
In a video from "Engvid.com", the teacher insists that Although is used to compare elements of a single thing. I got the above mentioned sentence from Longman dictionary.
City and countryside are two different things. A little confusing for me.
Thank you

Hi Hosseinpour,

I'm not familiar with that video. Although can certainly be used to contrast two elements of a single thing (e.g. Although this restaurant is expensive, the food is terrible). But it can also be used to contrast two different and separate things, as in the city/countryside example. 

I think the main point is as the page above explains: there are two facts, and one fact makes the other fact surprising or unexpected. Therefore, the two facts must be somehow related to each other (perhaps this is what the video intended - the facts are somehow related, e.g. "city" and "countryside" are both "places", but with opposing levels of population, development, traffic etc). Otherwise, it would be meaningless to contrast facts that are totally unrelated (e.g. Although you are in the middle of the city, horses have four legs. - This is a meaningless contrast of two unrelated facts!)

Jonathan

LearnEnglish team

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Submitted by dipakrgandhi on Mon, 17/04/2023 - 03:27

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Sir,
This is how I used 'behove' in my WhatsApp comment :

He was continuously defaming him while also enjoying the position awarded by him. Does this behove of a genuine person.

I feel that I have not used 'behove' correctly! Can you please comment on this!

Regards

Dipak R Gandhi

I had checked this word in dictionary. But I wanted to adapt it for the sense I meant : 'His behaviour was not genuine' - this is what I meant.
So is it right to say 'Does this behove of a genuine person?'
Please advise now.
Regards
Dipak R Gandhi

Hello Dipak,

No, it's not correct. If you look at the dictionary entry, you'll see that the structure used with 'behove' is 'it behoves somebody to do something'. *'it behoves of somebody' is not correct.

All the best,
Kirk
LearnEnglish team