are similar in meaning, yes. They all serve to record something that
is surprising or unexpected. But the difference in usage is that although,
though and even though are all conjunctions, whilst
in spite of and despite are both prepositions. So usage
in spite of + noun
although + clause
despite + noun
though + clause
even though + clause
and though can be used in the same way. Though is perhaps
more common in informal speech and writing, whereas although can
be used in a wide variety of styles. Compare:
'Our new neighbours are quite nice, though their dog
is a bit of a nuisance.'
'She insisted on keeping her coat on, although it was
extremely warm in the house as the central heating was on.'
'Although she was commended for completing the Millennium
Dome project on time and within budget, management felt that it
was now time for a new person with different talents to take over.'
is often used with even in order to give emphasis:
'I managed to get good results in my exams, even though I went
out four times a week when I was supposed to be revising.'
despite might be thought more formal than in spite of -
it is, after all, one word rather than three - there is really very
little difference in usage between the two:
'Despite the appalling weather, they succeeded in walking
to the top of Ben Nevis.'
'They decided to get married in spite of the huge differences
in their ages.'
to summarise: despite and although: similar meanings,
but different syntax required. Compare:
'Although it was raining heavily, we finished the game
'We finished the game of football in spite of the heavy
'Despite his strong Welsh accent, we understood most
of what he was saying.'
'Even though he had a strong Welsh accent, we understood
most of what he was saying.'
One further word. Although, despite and in spite
of are normally used as prepositions, they can also be used in
adverbial constructions with -ing, thus:
'I managed to pass
my exams, despite going out four times a week during the revision
'In spite of feeling terribly sick, I went to work every day
'Despite being severely handicapped, he managed to complete