'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

Language level

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

Submitted by diolongom on Thu, 12/05/2022 - 02:46

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Hi,
Even though they'd only known each other for two months, they got engaged.
- question uses they'd? I thought it should've been they've? can someone help me. Thanks!

great website!

Hi diolongom,

Both are grammatically correct. It depends on what the situation is. With present perfect (they've), we are talking about events that are quite recent. It means they met two months ago (i.e., two months before now). With past perfect (they'd), it is longer ago in the past. We know that they got engaged after only knowing each other for two months, but that may have been 5 or 10 years ago, for example - the sentence doesn't tell us how long ago it was. 

I hope that helps.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by KsaOld on Fri, 08/04/2022 - 19:54

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Hello! Thanks so much for this lesson. It really helps

Hi Nadezdaenglish2006,

Actually, it's not a mistake. The article is talking about a that-clause, i.e. that + a subject and verb, as in the bold part here: "He went out without an umbrella, despite the fact that it was raining." The article wants to show that it's incorrect to say "... despite that it was raining."

However, after "In spite of" and "Despite", we can use that as a pronoun, instead of as part of a that-clause. Your sentence is a good example of that.

I hope that helps.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by hadisrashidi74 on Sat, 22/01/2022 - 12:39

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Even though I see you every day, I still miss you when you're not around.

Submitted by aamirmit on Mon, 15/11/2021 - 07:49

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In most of the cases, can we use in spite of and despite interchangeably?

Hello aamirmit,

Yes, they mean the same thing and in most cases they can be used interchangeably.

I can't think of one off the top of my head, but there are probably a few expressions where one is used and the other isn't -- otherwise both work equally well.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team