Although / Even though / Despite / In spite of - Subordinating Conjunctions

Conjunctions - Lesson #8

"Although", "even though", "despite", and "in spite of" can all be used to express the same thing. In other words, they have the same meaning.

"Although" and "even though" are conjunctions, but "despite" and "in spite of" are considered prepositions. But since they are so similar it helps us to study them together.

We use these to say that something is surprising, unusual, or unexpected in relation to something else.
  • Even though she studied hard, she failed the test.
If she studied hard, then we would expect that she would pass the test. But in this case, the opposite happened. This outcome was unexpected.

"Even though" and "although" are used the same way, but "even though" is more common and a little bit stronger.

We can put "even though" or "although" at the beginning of a sentence or in the middle of a sentence.

Even though + action, + unexpected result
Unexpected result + even though + action
  • Even though she isn't big, she is strong.
  • Even though it rained, they went hiking.
  • Even though many unfortunate things happened, they enjoyed their trip.
  • She smiled even though she lost the game.
  • We bought it even though it was really expensive.
  • He quit his job even though he didn't have another job lined up.
Although + action, + unexpected result
Unexpected Result + although + action
  • Although she is pretty, she doesn't have a boyfriend.
  • Although we discussed it for 5 hours, we didn't make a decision.
  • Although it looks good, it doesn't work well.
  • We will go to the party although we do not know anybody else who is going.
  • It didn't taste good although I followed the recipe.
Note: It is more common to use "although" at the beginning of a sentence than in the middle.

"Despite" and "in spite of" are prepositions, so they are followed by nouns or gerunds.

Despite + noun/gerund, + unexpected result
In spite of + noun/gerund, + unexpected result
  • Despite the weather, we went on a picnic.
  • In spite of her age, she ran a full marathon.
  • Despite his injury, he played in the championship game.
  • In spite of their money, they are unhappy.
These usually go at the beginning of a sentence, but it is possible to use them in the middle.
  • She is our friend despite her age. She is much younger than us.
With these sentences, we usually need to infer or assume something.
  • Despite the weather, we went on a picnic.
This sentence does not tell us exactly what the weather was like. But we know that going on a picnic was an unusual thing. So, from this sentence, we can assume that the weather was bad.

Here is another example.
  • In spite of their money, they are not happy.
We can assume that they have a lot of money. Because we would expect people with money to be happy. But "in spite of" and "despite" are used to show unexpected or surprising things.

Practice speaking English and improve your English grammar by finishing the sentences below and then practice making your own sentences. It is an effective way learn English and improve your English fluency! Also, do not forget to try using it in real life.

Even though I don't have much time, I want to _______________.
Even though he is not very smart, he _______________.
I like her even though _______________.
She came to work even though _______________.
I _______________ even though _______________.
Although it will probably rain tomorrow, I will _______________.
Although it is cold today, _______________.
Although _______________, I like it.
Despite _______________, I have to _______________.
I _______________ despite _______________.
In spite of _______________, I was able to _______________.
I won _______________ in spite of _______________.