'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: 4.5 (11 votes)

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

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Submitted by Karan Narang on Mon, 22/06/2020 - 04:26

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Even though I can't speak well english In spite of I am practicing to speak to better speaking.

Submitted by IrinaMB on Wed, 03/06/2020 - 10:04

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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.

Submitted by Emily Mellor on Sat, 30/05/2020 - 11:25

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Even though I had an umbrella, I was wet. This is because I didn't have big enough umbrella.
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Submitted by Aisha na Shadee on Thu, 28/05/2020 - 19:15

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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.

Submitted by ohfah on Mon, 04/05/2020 - 15:15

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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
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Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 24/05/2020 - 07:17

In reply to by H_L

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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

Thank you so much. I appreciate your help.