You are here

'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

Hello Donald,

That sentence has only one error: it should be the progression of humanity.

The definite article is necessary here.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Peter.

Hi,

I really can't grasp the difference between however and although !
Would you please clarify this?
Would you refer to a grammar book that explains this difference ?

Thanks in advance
Inas

Hello Inas

There is a detailed explanation on this BBC page describing different linking words to express contrast and I would recommend taking a close look at. In general, 'however' means 'but' and 'although' means something like 'despite the fact that'.

One important difference my students sometimes struggle with is that with 'although', both of the things that are being contrasted must be in the same sentence as the word 'although'. For example, you can say 'Although I didn't enjoy the film, I think it deserves an award.' but NOT 'I think it deserves an award. Although I didn't enjoy the film.'

Unlike 'although', 'however' can be used in a separate sentence: 'I didn't enjoy the film. However, I think it deserves an award.' Or you can also put both ideas in the same sentence 'I didn't enjoy the film; however, I think it deserves an award.'

Note also that 'although' is not followed by a comma and 'however' is followed by a comma.

I hope this helps you!

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

 

Hello!
It is said here that after in spite of and despite we use a noun or a pronoun. What rules explain this usage:
In spite of what I said yesterday I still love you. OR
In spite of all that has been said, they have been doing what they think is right.

Hello Hope-hope

'despite' and 'in spite of', as prepositionals, can be followed by a word, phrase or clause acting as a noun or pronoun. In the two examples you mention, 'what I said yesterday' and 'all that has been said' are clauses acting as nominal objects (nouns) of 'in spite of'.

You could also use a gerund (e.g. 'despite knowing it was a bad idea, ...' and that is fine since gerunds are nominal (meaning they function as nouns).

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir,
I can't understand the mean of the noun: the food, in the sentence below:
:She enjoyed the party despite'' the food''.

Hi Momocompanyman,

It appears that 'food' means the things that people ate at the party. This sentence implies that the food was bad, but that she still enjoyed the party, even though the food was bad.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir,
I hope you are healthy.
I have copied two sentences from the first paragraph and I got confused whether should not we put a comma after 'Despite the pain in his leg'? Whereas we have a comma in the second one.
Despite the pain in his leg he completed the marathon.
Despite having all the necessary qualifications, they didn’t offer me the job.

Hello qayum2s,

While there are some rules regarding comma usage in English, there is also a lot of flexibility. I would not say that either example is incorrect but I would say that a comma between the clauses is the standard way to punctuate such sentences.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Pages