'in spite of', 'despite', 'although', 'even though' and 'though'

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.

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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Average: 5 (3 votes)

Submitted by michael_silver on Thu, 04/08/2022 - 03:08

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Hi all,
Please correct my usage that is correct or not.

Although my friend went to America without permission from his parents, his parents were going to kill the fatted calf when he will come back after two years.

Hello michael_silver,

No, I'm afraid that's not correct. If we're talking about the future in time clauses that begin with words such as 'when', we don't use 'will' but rather present tense forms. So in this sentence, 'will come back' should be 'comes back'. Also, the verb 'were going' should be 'are going' since it refers to a future time from the perspective of the present.

Let us know if you have any further questions about this.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by juliel7 on Mon, 25/07/2022 - 08:26

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Hi, I've confused with the 3rd question in the Grammar test 2: My partner snores really loudly but in spite of that I sleep well.
I think the correct sentence is My partner snores really loudly, in spite of that I sleep well.
Could you explain the reason why we put "but" in this sentence?
Thank you

Hello juliel7,

When we use in spite of in the middle of a sentence we need to add 'but'. At the beginning of a sentence this is not necessary:

In spite of the fact that my partner snores really loudly, I sleep well.

My partner snores really loudly but in spite of that I sleep well.

There are a number of linking devices which work in a similar way, with an extra word required when they are used in the middle of a sentence:

  • contrastive linking devices with 'but': in spite of (that/the fact that), despite (that/the fact that), still
  • additive linking devices with 'and': in addition, also, furthermore
  • linking devices for showing alternatives with 'or': alternatively, otherwise
  • linking devices for describing cause and effect with 'and': therefore, thus, hence, consequently

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,

I have two questions. The first is that the following sentence in your grammar test 1 doesn't include 'but' although the word 'in spite of' is in the middle of the sentence. The second is why we use the objective pronoun 'him' after 'in spite of' and why we can't use the pronoun 'he'.
I completely forgot to post the letter, in spite of him reminding me in the morning.

Hello VCamellia,

In answer to your second question, it's because the phrase 'him reminding me in the morning' is the object of 'in spite of'. It might also help to think that 'of' is a preposition, and prepositions always take the object form of pronouns ('him') instead of the subject form ('he') after prepositions.

I'm afraid I don't understand what your first question is. Could you please rephrase it? If it's whether 'in spite of' can come at the beginning or in the middle of sentences, that is possible and correct.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Kirk,

Thanks a lot for your reply.
My first question was based on the reply of Peter from your team. I'd like to know whether an extra word 'but' is compulsory to add or not if we put 'in spite of' in the middle of a sentence. In some example sentence, I don't see an extra word 'but' is added.
Sorry if I made you confused.
Best Regards,
V

Hello VCamellia,

Whether you need to add 'but' depends on what follows in spite of or despite. Take a look at these examples.

In spite of the rain, I went for a walk.

I went for a walk in spite of the rain.

No additional word is needed here.

 

It was raining. In spite of that, I went for a walk.

It was raining, but in spite of that I went for a walk.

Here, we need to add 'but' or begin a new sentence.

 

The key is the word 'that'. Here, 'that' is a reference device which refers anaphorically (back) to something earlier. When we use this construction, 'but' is needed. When in spite of is followed by a noun, a noun phrase or a gerund, no 'but' is needed. The same is true for despite.

 

I hope that clarifies it.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team