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Difference Between Despite and In Spite

grammar_us_amDespite vs In Spite

English learners often find the difference between “despite” and “in spite of” confusing, but with a little clarification there is no reason to use them incorrectly. In spite of and despite are synonyms, but English learners sometimes combine the terms and come up with errors such as ‘despite of’ or ‘in despite of’. These are not correct and should not be used.

Despite and in spite of are prepositions that are used to express contrast For example: ‘Kate went to the carnival despite the rain’ or ‘Kate went to the carnival in spite of the rain.’ Despite might be considered to be a slightly more formal variation or synonym of in spite of and is used more commonly in written English.

Despite and in spite of are the opposite of because of. For example: ‘Julie loved Tom in spite of his football obsession’. Or ‘Julie loved Tom because of his football obsession’.

Despite and in spite of are followed in English by a noun, pronoun (this, that, what etc) or ‘“ing ‘“

Noun usage ‘“ ‘Ruth woke up feeling refreshed despite Dave calling at midnight.’ Or ‘Ruth woke up feeling refreshed in spite of Dave calling at midnight.’

Pronoun usage ‘“ ‘I want to go for a run despite this rain.’ Or ‘I want to go for a run in spite of this rain.’

-ing usage ‘“ ‘Despite eating McDonalds regularly Tina remained slim.’ Or ‘In spite of eating McDonalds regularly Tina remained slim.’

Both despite and in spite of are often followed by ‘the fact’. For example: ‘She bought a new pair of shoes despite the fact that she already had 97 pairs.’ Or ‘She went to the cinema in spite of the fact that she was exhausted.’

Both despite and in spite of can be used in the first or second clause of a sentence. For example: ‘She liked ice cream despite having sensitive teeth.’ Or ‘Despite having sensitive teeth, she went liked ice cream’. The difference in meaning between the two sentences is that in the first example the liking ice cream is the most important information and in the second example the sensitive teeth is the most important piece of information.

Although, though and even though can be used as alternatives to despite and in spite of , but they are grammatically constructed differently. This is often where confusion is created as they are followed by different language forms.

1.Despite and in spite of are synonyms
2.’Despite of’ or ‘in despite of’ are incorrect usages
3.Both are followed by a noun, pronoun or ‘“ing verb form
4.Although, though and even though are alternatives that are formed using different grammar
5.Despite and in spite of can both be used in the first or second clause of a sentence

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  1. Just wanted you to know: My exam paper had a question- ______ the heavy rain, he walked thirty miles to send his son to the hospital- or something. The options were- despite, in spite of, because of, and so. So, what’s the difference?????

    • hi:D the answer,i feel,is despite.reason being if you use in spite of the sentence structure is kinda’ wrong
      guess you will have to use a little gut feelin’ yes?

  2. Hi, i really liked your submission on how to use ‘inspite of’ and ‘despite’. Celine from Bushenyi in Uganda.

  3. I would like to clarify no. 2 in the summary of the article. One site I read says that it is not wrong to use the phrase “in despite of” however, it expresses an entirely different idea.

  4. I’m pretty sure this article is mostly incorrect.

    In spite of is a variation of because of. For example, “I went to the part in spite of my mother’s order.” I went because I was told not to to spite the original order.

    Despite is the opposite of because of. For example, “I went for a walk despite the rain.” I was going to walk whether it rained or not, so the rain had no bearing on the actual walk.

    Now, THAT’S the real difference. Please correct your article.

    • Also, please correct my typo. Where I said “part,” it’s supposed to say “party.”

    • Boom, that’s what I was thinking because of the word spite.. They aren’t synonyms, they actually mean different things.. In spite of, is to carry out an action that is purposely against something else, while despite is followed by something that is ineffectual to the action.

      Despite the cold we still went hiking.. (hiking was done regardless of weather)

      In spite of her mother’s constant abuse, Amanda ran away that very night (Amanda left because of the abuse)

      • The usage in the article is more correct. In your example she is leaving because of the abuse not to spite the abuse. The spite in said example would be directed at the mother, but your usage grammatically directs the spite at the abuse, and spiting a nonliving thing is just irrational.

      • Don’t mind, but “in spite of her constant abuse,….. ran away that very night.” Doesn’t says the fact Amanda was harrased. It is incorrect. U could use because of instead.
        And the best answer in my opinion, of the first question is in spite of

  5. nice narration..

  6. Thank you for the clarification on the the two differences. It’s very enlightening

  7. Than you for your knowledge sharing,

  8. Hello, I really love the work you have in here, I love the way you made every bit of this article simple and very understanding.

  9. What is your source for this information? I am pretty sure that the most widely held conclusion as to the difference between in spite of and despite of is that the two words are actually synonyms and can be used interchangeably. I would be interested to see your source that would support what you said despite of, and therefore in spite of, the fact that academia would disagree.
    By the way!
    And Happy New Year!

  10. I will eat inspire of the quantity of the food serve.

    Despite the mosquitoes in this room I must have a sound sleep.

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