Referencias gramaticales

Linking devices of contrast

Meaning and use

We can use different words and phrases to highlight a contrast between two parts of a sentence. Some of these words and phrases are:

although, even though, despite, in spite of, however and but.

  • Although we are the best of friends we still disagree from time to time.
  • Even though we are the best of friends we still disagree from time to time.
  • Despite being the best of friends we still disagree from time to time.
  • In spite of being the best of friends we still disagree from time to time.
  • We are the best of friends; we still disagree from time to time, however.
  • We are the best of friends but we still disagree from time to time.

Form

Although / Even though

These conjunctions are used at the beginning of a clause. They introduce a contrast between two ideas, sentences or clauses.

They have similar meanings and are used in the same way. Even though highlights the contrast more strongly than although

  • Even though I did well at the interview I didn’t get the job.
  • Although I did well at the interview I didn’t get the job. 
  • Even though I was really angry I tried not to show it.
  • Although I was really angry I tried not to show it.

 

Despite / in spite of

These are prepositions and are followed by nouns or noun phrases. They can’t be followed directly by a verb phrase. If a verb is used it must be changed to the noun form (gerund).

  • Despite doing well at the interview I didn’t get the job.
  • In spite of doing well at the interview I didn’t get the job.

  •  Despite my being really angry I tried not to show it.
  • In spite of my being really angry I tried not to show it.

A verb phrase can be used with these expressions by adding the fact after the preposition.

  • Despite the fact I did well at the interview I didn’t get the job.
  • In spite of the fact I did well at the interview I didn’t get the job.

  •  Despite the fact I was really angry I tried not to show it.
  • In spite of the fact I was really angry I tried not to show it.

However

However is an adverb. It comes after the part of the sentence that is being contrasted. It can go in different parts of the clause.

  • I did well at the interview. However, I didn’t get the job.
  • I did well at the interview; I didn’t, however, get the job.
  • I did well at the interview; I didn’t get the job, however.
  • I was really angry; however, I tried not to show it.
  • I was really angry; I tried, however, not to show it.
  • I was really angry. I tried not to show it, however.

But

This is a conjunction that links two parts of a sentence together. It goes before the clause that has the contrast.

  • I did well at the interview but I didn’t get the job.
  • I was really angry but I tried not show it.

 

Take note: Though and although

Though is a shortened form of although. Notice though that although we say even though, we don’t say even although 

Take note: However at the beginning of a sentence

It is not a mistake to use however at the beginning of sentence. However, some people feel that is. If you want to avoid it, use a semi-colon after the first clause rather than a full-stop.

  • I did well at the interview; however, I didn’t get the job.