Words Students Confuse: in spite of, despite, though and although

ScottsEnglishScottsEnglish Administrator Posts: 1,030 admin ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
edited April 19 in Grammar

When writing, students often hesitate between "in spite of" and "despite", "though" and "although"

The easy answer is that, generally, the words are interchangeable!

"In spite of" and "despite" both mean "the opposite of", in the sense of overcoming or failing. For example,

Despite the winter storm, he still went to school every day.
OR, In spite of the winter storm, he still went to school every day.

In spite of her best efforts, she could not master algebra.
Despite her best efforts, she could not master algebra.

The same is true for "though" and "although", in most cases.

"Though" and "although" also mean "the opposite of" and add new information.

Though he trained for two years, he did not finish the marathon.
Although he trained for two years, he did not finish the marathon.

She speaks Spanish, though she has never been to a Spanish-speaking country.
She speaks Spanish, although she has never been to a Spanish-speaking country.

One exception, though, is when "though" is used as an adverb (like in this sentence).

A warning, though, before you leave the house, make sure you have your keys.

You cannot use "although" in these sentences.

For another grammar tip, click here.
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