The TOEFL class practiced using EVEN THOUGH, DESPITE, and NEVERTHELESS in class recently. The main lesson to remember is that these words all show contrast and unexpected outcomes, but we have to pay attention to how we use them in a sentence.
- EVEN THOUGH & ALTHOUGH (subordinate conjunctions) have to be followed by a clause (subject + verb)
- DESPITE & IN SPITE OF (subordinate conjunctions) have to be followed by a noun only (often with an adjective, but never with a verb)
- DESPITE & IN SPITE OF can also be followed by "THE FACT THAT," which can then be followed by a clause.
- NEVERTHELESS & NONETHELESS (conjunctive adverbs) has to start a sentence or come right after the subject, in which case, it is separated by commas.
Here are some examples:
- EVEN THOUGH it rained, they went to the beach.
- DESPITE the rain, they went to the beach.
- DESPITE THE FACT THAT it rained, they went to the beach.
- It rained. NEVERTHELESS, they went to the beach.
Here are more examples:
- We finished the cake EVEN THOUGH it wasn't very good.
- We finished the cake DESPITE its horrible taste.
- We finished the cake DESPITE THE FACT THAT it wasn't very good.
- The cake wasn't very good. We, NEVERTHELESS, finished it.
How would you finish sentences 2 & 4 so they have the same meaning as sentences 1 & 3?
- They came to New York EVEN THOUGH their parents forbade them from coming.
- They came to New York DESPITE ...
- She loves New York DESPITE the chaos compared to her small town in Iowa.
- She loves New York EVEN THOUGH ...
For more practice, finish these sentences:
- They came to class even though ...
- They came to class despite ...
- (Use nevertheless)
- In spite of ... , he stayed at the party another half an hour.
- Although ..., he stayed at the party another half an hour.
- (Use nonetheless)
Do you want to practice using these structures? Choose one of the following topics and write a short paragraph below. C'mon, give it a shot!
- Write about why you like New York (or any city) and why the positives outweigh the negatives.
- Write about why you love hanging out with your friends and why the positives of spending time with them outweigh the negatives.
-- Joe Yu, ESL instructor