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'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

Language level

Intermediate: B1

Comments

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^^

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.

Hi,

Is it wrong to write, "Despite her old age, my grandma leads an active life." Is 'her' redundant?

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

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

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?

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