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 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 atya on Tue, 21/04/2020 - 12:03

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
Profile picture for user Kirk Moore

Submitted by Kirk Moore on Tue, 21/04/2020 - 12:50

In reply to by atya


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


The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user zabiullah

Submitted by zabiullah on Fri, 17/04/2020 - 18:10

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...

Submitted by itspb008 on Thu, 09/04/2020 - 15:53

How do I know that a noun and a pronoun are not subject?

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.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by mukuljain on Mon, 06/04/2020 - 13:27

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.



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