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

Do you know how to connect two contrasting ideas?

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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Submitted by Khin Nyein Chan on Fri, 03/04/2020 - 07:57

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I get to know true grammar that I didn't know previous.Thank you very much.

Submitted by wcyam10 on Sat, 07/03/2020 - 04:03

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Hi Kirk, May I know what is the meaning of the following sentence? We waited ages for our food. The waiter was really nice, though. Thanks and regards
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Submitted by Peter M. on Sat, 07/03/2020 - 07:35

In reply to by wcyam10

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Hello wycam10,

Which part of the sentence is confusing for you?

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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

In reply to by wcyam10

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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.

 

Peter

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

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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

Submitted by Thefemalejordan on Thu, 27/02/2020 - 10:46

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Kindly help with this sentence pls In spite of the very hot weather,Kevin stepped out to buy some bread Begin with despite In how many ways can we answer this?

Hello Thefemalejordan

You could say 'Despite the hot weather, Kevin ...'

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Heather Mackay on Wed, 26/02/2020 - 10:16

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Feeling as in feeling sad/ sick etc can be used with in spite of, despite, although, even though, and though In spite of feeling sad, he decided to go to the party Despite feeling etc and for although, even though and though

Submitted by Tobias Hein on Tue, 25/02/2020 - 05:52

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I want to lnow can I use this sentence,in spite of his very hard work,he failed the exam.

Hello Tobias Hein,

In spite of his very hard work, he failed the exam.

The sentence is perfectly correct and you can certainly use it.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Dina Diab on Sun, 16/02/2020 - 23:50

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Hi Kirk, Sorry if my question seemed kinda irrelevant to the main topic. but, I'd like to ask you how to use "however" and whether it follows a comma or a semicolon? Thank you for considering my question.
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Submitted by Kirk on Mon, 17/02/2020 - 06:18

In reply to by Dina Diab

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Hello Dina Diab

A comma is often used near or immediately before or after 'however'. What I'd recommend is that you take a look at the example sentences in the dictionary entry, where you can see these different uses. If you have any questions after reading them, or if you want to try a few sentences here, please don't hesitate.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Jamba on Wed, 12/02/2020 - 00:55

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Although I was sick I went at work. I decided to make peace with my friend, even though I didn’t like him. Although some people like living in the city I like to live in the Countryside.
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Submitted by Pratapsingh on Thu, 09/01/2020 - 05:54

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Dear sir, Can you please tell the error in the following sentences and is it correct to use 'although' this way? 1) Hot and humid although (a)/ the weather was,(b)/we kept fighting to win the (c)/ match till the end of the match. (d)/ no error (e) 2) immensely talented although (a)/ he is, he never (b)/helped India to win a (c)/ final match on his own.(d)/ no error (e)
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Submitted by Kirk on Thu, 09/01/2020 - 06:29

In reply to by Pratapsingh

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Hello Pratapsingh

In an older style or perhaps in verse, it's correct to use 'although' in this way, but in most speaking or writing these days both of these sentence would sound quite strange (though intelligible). A more standard phrasing would be 'Although the weather was hot and humid, ...'

Other than that, I don't see any other grammatical errors.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Momocompanyman on Fri, 03/01/2020 - 10:01

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Hello Mr Kirk , I can't understand the difference between in spite of and despite ?

Hello Momocompanyman,

There is no difference between despite and in spite of in meaning or grammatical function, and you can use the two interchangeably.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lubnaaliraqia on Tue, 24/12/2019 - 17:59

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Thank you so much for benefit.

Submitted by Arash Yekta on Mon, 23/12/2019 - 17:51

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Hello, Sorry to leave a question here about "unless". I didn't find a section in grammar part of the site under which "unless" is explained. On what condition, should subjunctive be used after "unless"?
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Submitted by Kirk on Tue, 24/12/2019 - 07:38

In reply to by Arash Yekta

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Hello Arash Yekta

As far as I know, it's unusual to use a subjunctive form after 'unless' in spoken or written English. It was perhaps more common in the past, but off the top of my head, the only time I can think of to use it would be in a kind of second conditional. For example, 'If we had time, we'd go skiing, unless there was no snow', though really I would say 'but only if there was snow' instead of 'unless there was no snow' because it sounds a little odd to me.

You can see some examples of 'unless' with a subjunctive verb on the Wikipedia English subjunctive page, but please note these sound very odd to modern ears. In general, I'd recommend this Cambridge dictionary page for general reference.

Hope this helps.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Loc Dang on Sun, 22/12/2019 - 14:03

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Hello, I have a question in the grammar test 1 as follows: I completely forgot to post the letter, _____ him reminding me in the morning. The correct answer is "in spite of". I don't understand the grammatical role of "him" in this sentence. Thank you in advance
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Submitted by Kirk on Mon, 23/12/2019 - 07:28

In reply to by Loc Dang

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Hello Loc Dang

'him reminding me in the morning' is the object of 'in spite of'. Since it is an object, this is why the form 'him' is used here. At the same time, 'him' is the subject of the verb phrase 'him reminding me in the morning'. I imagine that might seem a little strange, but it is correct.

Does that help you make sense of it?

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by emma charles on Fri, 01/11/2019 - 10:21

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Why is there not a difference between 'in spite of' and 'despite', I'm not sure if I've just always known this wrong but they have different meanings to me. I thought 'in spite of' meant that you were doing something because of the other thing. For example, if you were doing something in spite of the law, you are doing it because you are purposely trying to break the law. Whereas, I thought despite meant you are doing something regardless of the other thing. For example, if you are doing something despite the law, even though you know its illegal you do it anyway, but you are not doing it because you want to break the law. I'm not sure how well I explained myself here but I think my confusion comes from the word 'spite'. If doing something 'out of spite' means you are doing it out of annoyance, I guess I just thought that 'in spite' meant a similar thing. I'm honestly just still confused, saying something like "The train was cancelled. In spite of that, we arrived on time" just doesn't right to me because you didn't arrive on time because you were annoyed about the train being cancelled.

Hello emma charles

'spite', a kind of feeling, is something quite different from the word 'spite' in the phrase 'in spite of'.

Perhaps in some varieties of English, there is a difference in meaning between 'in spite of' and 'despite', but as far as I know, they are synonyms in standard British English. It might be useful to check several dictionaries to see what they indicate.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by Quynh Nhu on Fri, 04/10/2019 - 17:06

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Dear sir, I am having trouble choosing the right words to fill this blank:"If you sell your house before the end of this month, your taxes will be reduced by almost 30 percent …………..the sale of your home." I have to choose between despite and regardless of. But as far as my knowledge goes, these 2 words used quite similarly. Can you point out the difference between them? Thankyou so much. Wish you have a nice weekend^^
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Submitted by Peter M. on Sat, 05/10/2019 - 08:40

In reply to by Quynh Nhu

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Hello Quynh Nhu,

Despite and regardless of are both followed by nouns (or gerunds) but there is a difference in the meaning.

Despite is used to show a contrast. If we say A happened despite B, then we mean that normally B would stop A or make it less likely. For example:

I got a loan from the bank despite not having a job.

Normally, not having a job would stop me from getting a bank loan, so the contrast/surprise is clear.

 

Regardless of does not show a contrast in the same way. Instead, it shows that a piece of information had no effect. For example:

She won't like you regardless of how nice you are.

Here, the sentence means 'it doesn't matter how nice you are, she still won't like you'. It doesn't tell us whether or not you are nice, just that it won't make any difference.

If we use despite then the meaning changes:

She won't like you despite how nice you are/

Now we know that you are nice, but it is not enough to make her like you.

 

In your example, I think both forms make sense. The choice is really dependent on the facts of the legal/taxation system and the expectations these create rather than the grammar of the sentence. If selling your house would make you expect to pay higher taxes then despite makes sense. If not, then regardles of would be more likely.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Peter M, THANKYOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR DETAILED ANSWER. I FEEL SO RELEASED WHEN KNOWING THAT I HAVE YOUR SUPPORT ON MY WAY LEARNING THE BEAUTIFUL ENGLISH.

Submitted by Leen on Mon, 23/09/2019 - 17:18

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Hi, Is it wrong to write, "Despite her old age, my grandma leads an active life." Is 'her' redundant?
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Submitted by Peter M. on Tue, 24/09/2019 - 07:32

In reply to by Leen

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Hello Leen,

The sentence is fine. It's not old age in general which you are talking about, but your grandma's old age. The use of 'her' makes' this clear.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Marianapr on Tue, 27/08/2019 - 14:06

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Hello! Is there any rule regarding when to use “in spite of” or “despite”??

Hello Marianapr,

You can use these interchangeably as there is no difference in meaning or grammatical structure between them. Both are on the formal side, but I would say that 'despite' is a little more formal than 'in spite of'.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by zulqadah on Sat, 24/08/2019 - 05:16

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i have got 5 out of 5. i wanna learn and speak english language fluently..but i dont have money to purchase such expensive courses ..what should i do plz suggest

Hello zulquadah,

The material on LearnEnglish is available free of charge, so you can continue using this as long as you wish. You can find material on different areas and at different levels using the search function at the top of each page.

In my experience the best way to develop language skills is to use the language, so try to find opportunities where you like to practise. Interaction with tourists or visitors to your country, for example, or even just practising with your friends can be very helpful. Reading is also very important. You'll pick up new vocabulary but also develop a feel for things like word order, natural phrasing and so on. There are plenty of sites online with free ebooks, such as Project Gutenberg:

http://www.gutenberg.org/

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks for your courses! Could you please advise me free sites to prepare IELTS exam?

Hello Olzhas

I would recommend you visit TakeIELTS, where you will find loads of information and even some free practice materials. I'm sure you can also find some useful posts on our Facebook page. I'd also recommend keeping your eye on our FutureLearn course Understanding IELTS.

Good luck!

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Somiya Somi on Fri, 16/08/2019 - 19:06

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Yes, I'm succeeded this level, I get out of 5 to 5
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Submitted by Pratapsingh on Sat, 10/08/2019 - 16:42

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Dear sir, can we use though or although and yet together in a sentence?? If yes, then what are the conditions?? Is the following sentence correct ?? Though he is rich, yet he doesn't help anyone.

Hello Pratapsingh.

When we speak, we often change what our sentences before finishing them, and so in a case like that it would be possible, but otherwise, off the top of my head, I can't think of a sentence when you could use 'though' and 'yet' at the same time. You could say 'Though he is rich, he doesn't help anyone' or 'He is rich and yet he doesn't help anyone'.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Leen on Wed, 07/08/2019 - 04:35

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Hi, May I know if it is necessary to use past perfect tense in sentences with 'in spite of the fact that'? E.g. In spite of the fact that she worked hard, she failed the test. In spite of the fact that she had worked hard, she failed the test. Are both acceptable?
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Submitted by Kirk on Thu, 08/08/2019 - 08:43

In reply to by Leen

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Hello Leen

Yes, both of these sentences are correct and even other tenses are possible, e.g. 'In spite of the fact that I live in Spain, I am not Spanish.'

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Marakistef on Wed, 19/06/2019 - 11:44

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I need a similar meaning. Would be very nice if someone would help. In spite of the doctor's orders, she went to the game. And: She went to the game anyway, doctor's orders __________. (1 word)

Hello Marakistef

You could say 'notwithstanding' there and it would have the same meaning.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by nanmyatmoeaye on Thu, 02/05/2019 - 07:05

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It is a useful exercise.