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We use despite, although, in spite of and even though to contrast 2 different ideas in different clauses, but it is important to use them accurately with the correct grammar.

For despite and in spite of, we can use the following:

  1. In spite of/ Despite the fact that I practised a lot, I didn’t pass my driving test.
  2. In spite of/ Despite practising a lot, I didn’t pass my driving test.
  3. In spite of/ Despite a lot of practice, I didn’t pass my driving test.

Here are the grammatical structures for each of the above sentences:

  1. In spite of/ Despite +  the fact that + subject + verb, + second clause
  2. In spite of/ Despite + verb_ing, + second clause
  3. In spite of/ Despite + noun, + second clause

Remember that you can reverse the clauses – just don’t change the grammar after in spite of/ despite.

With although and even though, we use the following:

  1. Even though/ Although I practised a lot, I didn’t pass my driving test.

The structure is:

  1. Even though/ Although + subject + verb, + second clause

Remember that you can reverse the clauses here too.

An important thing to remember is that the clauses MUST contrast in meaning. You cannot simply add these words and make a contrast. Look at the following:

  1. Despite the rain, we stayed indoors. (This doesn’t make sense as it is natural to stay indoors if it is raining.)
  2. Despite the rain, we went to the beach. (This makes sense as it is not usual to go to the beach if it is raining.)
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