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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

Hello Berrymay,

In your example we have a long noun phrase, which functions just as a one-word noun would. In terms of the sentence the noun phrase is a group of words which act together as a grammatical unit - a subject or an objet, for example. In your example the noun phrase is 'the English learning programs designed to equip migrants with the language'. You can see this because the whole noun phrase could be used as the subject of a verb:

The English learning programs designed to equip migrants with the language are great.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Peter, thanks a lot, l have got it. But...there is another question. "Over half of the solicitors and barristers survey indicated that many of their non-English speaking clients were accompanied by a friend or relative who could assist the inetrpreting." Is there any mistake in this sentence? I am doing error correction, and it is difinitely difficult for me, could you help me to correct the sentence? Please~ thanks, thanks, thanks!

Hello Berrymay,

I'm afraid we don't provide help with exercises and tests from outside of our pages. These are for you to do! If we start offering a service to do our users' tests or homework for them then we will have no time for anything else!

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Ok, got it. Anyway, thanks a lot~

You say
despite being bitten
is correct because despite can be followed by a gerund.
But what about this one?
I enjoy living in the town centre, despite being so noisy
According to my grammar it is not correct.

Hello JHE,

The problem with the sentence is that in the way it is constructed there really needs to be a clause after 'despite'. You could do this by saying 'the fact that' after 'despite' (which is similar to 'que' in 'a pesar de que' in Spanish): 'I enjoy living in the centre, despite the fact that it is so noisy.' Or, even better, you could just remove the -ing form and 'so': 'I enjoy living in the centre despite the noise'. Except in some very specific context, this means exactly the same thing.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello sir,
Please help me !
What is the different usage between "although" and "despite the fact that" when showing contrast. I am really confused about it because both of them are used with clause. Please explain. Thanks in advance.

Hello Protam Kumar Dutta,

There is no difference in terms of what follows each of these:

I passed the exam, although I had not revised.

I passed the exam, despite the fact that I had not revised.

The difference is in the formality and strength of the items. Although is neutral and can be used in both informal and formal contexts. Despite the fact that (and the similar in spirt of the fact that) tend to be used in more formal contexts and are more common in written than spoken English.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,

Although, is the most common isnt' it? It's a good and polite way to right a business e-mail or talk with friends?

Thanks,
Dayse

Hello Dayse,

Of these three linkers I would say that 'although' and its alternative 'though' are the most common. These are neutral words with regard to formality so they can be used in both formal and informal communication.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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