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How to Use 'Despite' and 'In Spite Of' Correctly

Updated: Feb 4, 2023

How to use conjunctions effectively in English!

Today you're gonna learn about words like But, even though, although, though, despite, in spite of, and how to use them!

However However However

I used to think "However" was just a more formal version of "But" and, in some cases, it can be, but there's a lot more to it!

The difference between "But" and "However" is more related to feeling than formality. "However" implies a bigger contradiction, and maybe a bigger problem!

Consider the following:

"I want the new iPhone but I don't have enough money."
"I want the new iPhone. However, I don't have enough money."

Even in simple text, this sounds like the speaker has given more thought to their financial situation. Or maybe they want to emphasise the difference between how much money he has and how much he needs!

"However" can also be used as an aside. Like you're adding extra information or suggesting something different.

"I've never been to the Universal Studios in Florida. The one in Japan, however, I've been to loads!"

How to use "Even though" and "Although"

"Even though" and "Although" are fun to use!

They are used before a sentence which shows something that didn't have the expected effect on the result:

"Even though I go to the gym every day, I don't see any difference in the mirror!"

(The working out at the gym doesn't affect my body)

"I never go to that restaurant, it's too expensive. Although it IS good!"

(The fact it's a good restaurant doesn't make me want to go there, it's still too expensive!)

How to use "Though"!

"Though" is one of my favourite words! And a very often used one in English that has become one of the most frequently asked questions of me as a teacher!

"What does it mean when someone says 'Those shoes, though!'"

In THIS case, the speaker is implying something without saying it. Usually, it's something we're maybe all thinking or something that's obvious but no one has said. Maybe these particular shoes look amazing! Or maybe they look dirty and smelly! Either way, "Though" adds some flavour to your speaking!

Or, for another example where I'm implying something without directly saying it...

I'm gonna go see the new Marvel movie.

You've already seen it and you tell me how rubbish you thought it was!

Then after I see it, I say to you:

"Hmm... It was pretty good, though!".

I don't need to repeat what you thought. By saying "though", I'm acknowledging that my opinion contradicts yours. So usually, in this case, when we say something like "This thing, though", it usually means we want to draw attention to "This thing"

"That cake we had last night, though! (drool!)"

"Despite" and "In spite of"

"Despite" and "In spite of" work the same as "even though" and "although", they go with the sentence which SHOULD affect, but DOESN'T affect the result.

Just remember to change the following verb to the ING form!

"Despite being winter, it's nice and sunny out!"

Try a practice question and test if you've learned correctly:

How can you change the grammar of this sentence to correctly fit with "In spite of"?

  1. In spite of I have the day off today, I still have some work I need to finish!

Answer: Remove "I", and change the verb "have" to "havING"

In spite of HAVING the day off today, I still have some work I need to finish!

Now make it stay in your head forever with my Ultimate English eBook!

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