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

Language level

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Hi Peter, I am confused on meaning of "though" and why it has to be at the end of the sentence most of the time?

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.



The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user Josh

Submitted by Josh on Fri, 13/03/2020 - 16:55

In reply to by wcyam10

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.



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

Submitted by Bharati on Thu, 05/03/2020 - 12:28

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