Despite or in spite of

Sometimes, differences in language do not boil down to a right and a wrong option. Style may dictate that one word or phrase is preferable to another, but neither is erroneous.

Such is the case with despite vs. in spite of. These phrases mean the same thing and are basically interchangeable, but one is probably a smarter choice for some writing contexts.

What is the Difference Between In Spite of and Despite?

In this article, I will compare the prepositions in spite of vs. despite. I will provide example sentences for both terms.

Plus, at the end, I will outline a helpful mnemonic that you can use to decide which one you should use in your own writing.

When to Use In Spite Of

Despite or In Spite OfWhat does in spite of mean? In spite of is a phrasal preposition. It means unaffected by something. You can see the proper use of this phrase in the sentences below.

  • Congress passed the bill, in spite of frequent objections from vocal constituents.
  • In spite of being on a diet, I ate some mushroom risotto anyway.
  • My daughter went to the basement to get the cat food, in spite of her fears.
  • So the visitor returns thankful for much of what he has seen, and, in spite of everything, an optimist about what his country might be. –The Wall Street Journal

When to Use Despite

Despite or In Spite OfWhat does despite mean?

Despite, in spite of разница, когда используется ????

Despite и in spite of — предлоги. Оба означают по сути одно и то же: “несмотря на”. Оба подчеркивают противопоставление между двумя частями предложения. По сути это синонимы. В чем же разница в употреблении?

Yet despite obstacles we managed to complete our project. / Тем не менее, несмотря на препятствия, нам удалось завершить наш проект.

Yet we managed to complete our project in spite of obstacles. / Тем не менее нам удалось завершить наш проект, несмотря на препятствия.

Ошибки в употреблении despite и in spite of

На самом деле эти выражения вполне взаимозаменяемы. Ну разве что despite можно считать чуть более формальным. Основные ошибки, которые учащиеся допускают в употреблении этих выражений такие:

  • In the spite of
  • а также
  • In spite (без of)
  • или
  • Despite of
  • Собственно, если не делать эти три распространенные ошибки, больше здесь не в чем запутаться, даже при всем желании.
  • Despite or In Spite Of

Использование despite и in spite of в повседневной речи

Despite his best efforts, the man just couldn’t succeed. / Несмотря на все его усилия, человек просто не смог добиться успеха.

Эту же фразу можно составить и в другом порядке:

The man just couldn’t succeed despite his best efforts. / Человек просто не смог добиться успеха, несмотря на все его усилия.

Точно так же мы можем составить эту фразу с использованием in spite of.

In spite of his best efforts, the man just couldn’t succeed. / Несмотря на все его усилия, мужчина просто не смог добиться успеха.

Как видите, по смыслу они ничем не отличаются.

  • Кроме того, эти выражения можно употреблять и в связке с герундием:

Despite being on time to the lecture, we were not admitted. / Несмотря на то, что мы пришли на лекцию вовремя, нас не пустили.

In spite of being on time to the lecture, we were not admitted. / Несмотря на то, что мы пришли на лекцию вовремя, нас не пустили.

Как видите, на самом деле все очень просто. Если вы пока чувствуете себя не очень уверенно в английской грамматике, советуем пройти короткий тест, чтобы определить свой уровень и слабые места. И затем восполнить пробелы — вместе с Wall Street English это быстро, легко и увлекательно!

Правило употребления Despite и In Spite Of, Although и Even Though

Для английского языка не вполне характерно наличие 4 лексических единиц, обозначающих одно и то же. Тем не менее, в случае с despite, in spite of, although и even though, мы должны согласиться, что есть и исключения из этой традиции. Да, значение этих слов одинаково – «несмотря на.., хотя…» Однако есть разница в употреблении последующих за ними слов.

Разница предлогов Despite и In spite of

Despite и In spite of оба переводятся как «несмотря на». Эти слова – предлоги, поэтому после них ставится существительное. Наглядно всю «правду» об этих словах можно представить в виде таблицы.

See also:  When to use articles before nouns
Транскрипция Часть речи Сочетаемость Перевод
Despite /dɪˈspaɪt/ предлог Despite / In spite of + сущ., местоимение или глагол с -ing Несмотря на…
In spite of /ɪn/ /ˈspaɪt/ /əv/

А теперь давайте посмотрим разницу в употреблении на примерах

  • We enjoyed our holiday in spite of the rain.
  • Despite the pain in his leg, he completed the marathon.
  • Despite having all the necessary qualifications, they didn’t offer me the job.

Осторожно: не перемешивать слова!

Простите за каламбур: несмотря на то, что эти предлоги звучат практически одинаково, путать их употребление нельзя.

Не стоит “of” добавлять к despite – despite of. И наоборот: не рекомендуем “of” убирать от in spite of – in spite.

  • Despite the bad weather, there was a large crowd at the match. ☑
  • NOT! Despite of the bad weather, there was a large crowd at the match. ☒
  • In spite of the bad weather, there was a large crowd at the match. ☑
  • NOT! In spite the bad weather, there was a large crowd at the match. ☒

Despite or In Spite Of

Правило употребления союзов Although, Even though

По аналогии со своими предшественниками эти слова также имеют одинаковый перевод – «хотя».

Однако они существенно выделяются в употреблении: это союзы, то есть такие части речи, которые соединяют между собой предложения.

Следовательно, после although или even though мы не просто должны поставить одно существительное, местоимение или –ing форму, но и далее сопроводить их глаголом – сказуемым.

Транскрипция Часть речи Сочетаемость Перевод
Although /ɔːlˈðəʊ/ Союз Although / Even though + подлежащее + сказуемое Хотя… Несмотря на то, что…
Even Though /ˈiːv(ə)n/ /ðəʊ/
  • Although he worked very hard, he didn’t manage to pass the exam.
  • We decided to buy the house even though we didn’t really have enough money.

Изучив эти примеры можно сделать вывод о том, что союз even though более эмоционально окрашен, является «усиленной» версией although. По значению эти союзы одинаковы, а вот по тональности немного расходятся.

Четверо в одном ряду: правильный перевод на английский

Когда после фразы «несмотря на то, что» необходимо поставить целое предложение, а в голове вертятся только despite или in spite of, выход есть. Необходимо далее поставить фразу “the fact that” и смело добавлять подлежащее и сказуемое.

Although «Несмотря на то, что…»
Even though
Despite + “the fact that…”
In spite of

Таким образом, предложение «Несмотря на то, что он был болен, он пришел на лекцию», можно перевести четырьмя способами:

  1. Although he was sick, he attended the lecture.
  2. Even though he was sick, he attended the lecture.
  3. Despite the fact that he was sick, he attended the lecture.
  4. In spite of the fact that he was sick, he attended the lecture.

Despite, in spite of

Here is how to use despite and in spite of correctly.

Despite and in spite of have the same meaning and are prepositions.We use despite / in spite of to express that something is unexpected or surprising. Despite the heavy traffic, we got there on time.Despite being much older than the others, he won the race.
Despite and in spite of can be followed by a noun or verb. They can also be followed by the fact that, which is less formal.We use in spite of / despite:+ noun+ verb + -ing+ the fact that. In spite of / despite the heavy traffic, we got there on time. (+ noun)In spite of / despite the traffic being heavy, we got there on time. (+ verb -ing)In spite of / despite the fact that he is much older than the others, he won the race.In spite of / despite being much older than the others, he won the race.
Despite is more common than in spite of in formal written English.
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Despite or In Spite Of
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  • Although, even though vs. despite
  • Practice exercise 1 (upper-intermediate) Despite, in spite of, although, even though ex.1
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See also:  Pronoun order

Despite vs. In Spite Of

What’s the difference between despite and in spite of?

The easy answer: none. Despite and in spite of, despite what you may have heard, work identically in a sentence.

  • In other words, these two prepositions, in spite of what you may have heard, are basically identical.
  • In most cases, both mean “notwithstanding,” “even though,” or “regardless of.”
  • Despite their similarities, keep these things in mind to make sure your usage gives no cause for complaint.

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Both despite and in spite of are prepositions that show contrast. They can show up at the start of a sentence or in the middle, but you’ll often need an extra clause to show the flip side. For example:

In spite of this dependent clause, this sentence needs an independent clause (this one!) to be a full sentence.

As you may have guessed, the same would be true if we replaced the “in spite of” in that sentence with “despite.” What matters is that the independent clause—the one that could stand alone as a sentence—is there to balance out the dependent clause that starts with “in spite of.”

What comes after them

Not just any part of speech can be used with these two little prepositions. For the most part, you’ve got three options for what can follow your spite-related phrases.

A noun

For the next two hours the new boy’s behavior was exemplary, despite the spitballs, shot from the nib of a pen, that occasionally splattered against his face.
—Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

  1. Grammatically savvy, and classy, too.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
—Clement Clarke Moore, The Night Before Christmas

This take on Santa Claus (not be confused with an independent clause) demonstrates the common construction, “in spite of oneself.” This speaker means he laughed without meaning to. Sorry, Santa!

This is also an important exception: “in spite of oneself” is a fixed idiom: you wouldn’t say “despite oneself.”

A gerund

A gerund is a verb masquerading as a noun. Here’s how it looks with our words of the day.

‘Now, above all, he must be convinced that he is on an equal footing with all of us, in spite of his taking money from us,’ Alyosha continued in his rapture.
—Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

“Taking” works as a noun here—same as the nouns in the examples above. That -ing is what sets it apart.

Despite ‘throwing rocks,’ Mike knew, we all knew, that mighty Terra with eleven billion people and endless resources could not be defeated by three million who had nothing…
—Robert Heinlein, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

Phrases with what or how

When not used to start a question, what, how, and their other wh- friends function as relative pronouns when they connect phrases in a sentence, or as adverbs when they modify a verb. Here are a few now.

The shower head. It worked fine despite how it looks. —TripAdvisor comment

“The shower head” is a fragment. But at least it works (grammatically and water-wise).

In spite of what happened to it, the pounding rain and hurricane-force winds, the barn still stands intact.
—Peter H. Hare and Edward H. Madden, Causing, Perceiving and Believing: An Examination of the Philosophoy of C.J. Ducasse

Where they come from

“Spite” is a noun defined as “ill will or hatred toward another, accompanied with the disposition to irritate, annoy, or thwart.” That’s a fancy way to say “holding a grudge.” “Spite” is also a verb, which means “to purposely hurt or annoy.” For example:

Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.

In Spite of, Despite and Although

‘in spite of’, ‘despite’ and ‘although’ are all used to show contrast and are used for the same meaning. The only difference is the way they are used; the structure in which they are used.

See also:  What happened to the children bred for the hitler regime?

‘in spite of’ and ‘despite’ are placed in front of a noun or pronoun: We had a great time in spite of the rain. We had a great time despite the rain.

Despite studying very hard, he still didn’t pass the exam. ‘studying’ is the noun form of the verb ‘study’

‘despite’ does NOT have ‘of’ after it: Despite the rough weather they still set sail. NOT, Despite of the bad weather…

  • ‘although’ is used in front of a subject and a verb: We had a great time although it rained.
  • Although he studied very hard, he still didn’t pass the exam.
  • If ‘in spite of’ and ‘despite’ are used in front of the phrase ‘the fact that’ then they can be used with a subject and a verb: In spite of the fact that he studied very hard, he still didn’t pass the exam.
  • Despite the fact that it rained we still had a great time.

‘even though’ can be used the same way as ‘although’. For most native speakers ‘even though’ is slightly stronger than ‘although’: Even though we were in a terrible hotel, we had a great time.

Lesson by Tristan, teacher at EC Malta English school

Use ‘in spite of’, despite’ or ‘although’ for these sentences:

Despite vs In spite of

The English terms in spite of and despite are very similar in meaning and usage; in spite of this, English speakers sometimes find them confusing.

Despite

Despite means “even though,” “notwithstanding,” or “regardless of.” It’s the opposite of “because of/due to,” and can be used with a noun or gerund.

  • She had difficulty communicating in French despite all her years of study.
  • We lost the game, despite the fact that we practiced all week.
  • Despite not having an umbrella, I walked home in the rain

 In spite of

In spite of means exactly the same thing and is used exactly the same way as despite.

  1. She had difficulty communicating in French in spite of all her years of study.
  2. We lost the game, in spite of the fact that we practiced all week.
  3. In spite of not having an umbrella, I walked home in the rain.

 The Bottom Line

The English terms despite and in spite of are synonyms. Despite

Despite and in spite of

Despite and in spite of mean exactly the same, but despite is more common than in spite of.

Despite and in spite of are prepositions. Both expressions can be followed by a noun or noun-equivalent.

  • I enjoyed the movie despite having a headache.
  • OR I enjoyed the movie in spite of having a headache.
  • Both expressions are used for saying that something happens although something else might have prevented it.
  • The government went ahead with its decision to build the nuclear power station despite / in spite of widespread opposition.

Despite the fact that / in spite of the fact that

Despite and in spite of cannot be directly followed by a that-clause. Before a that-clause, we use the expression the fact.

He still loves her despite the fact that she cheated on him.

OR He still loves her in spite of the fact that she cheated on him.

Many people are successful despite the fact that they do not have a university degree. (NOT Many people are successful despite that they do not have a university degree.)

Despite yourself

To do something despite yourself is to do it even though you didn’t intend to.

The boy found the money on the table and took it despite himself. (The boy had no intention to take the money; he took it, nonetheless.)

Notes

Never use of after despite. Always use of after in spite.

  1. We enjoyed the evening despite the bad weather.
  2. OR We enjoyed the evening in spite of the bad weather.
  3. She always looks cheerful in spite of / despite her problems.
  4. The same ideas can be expressed using though and although.
  5. We enjoyed the evening though / although the weather was bad.
  6. She always looks cheerful though / although she has many problems.

Note that though and although are conjunctions. They should be followed by a clause.

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