Unit 99 Contrast clauses

Main points

* These are clauses introduced by `although’, `in spite of’ and `though’.

* You use contrast clauses when you want to make two statements, and one statement makes the other seem surprising.

* Contrast clauses are introduced by conjunctions such as `although’, `in spite of’, or `though’.

* A contrast clause needs a main clause to make a complete sentence. The contrast clause can come before or after the main clause.

1 When you simply want to contrast two statements, you use `although’, `though’ or `even though’.
Although he was late, he stopped to buy a sandwich.
Though he has lived for years in London, he writes in German.
I used to love listening to her, even though I could only understand about half of what she said.

Sometimes you use words like `still’, `nevertheless’, or `just the same’ in the main clause to add emphasis to the contrast.
Although I was shocked, I still couldn’t blame him.
Although his company is profitable, it nevertheless needs to face up to some serious problems.
Although she hated them, she agreed to help them just the same.

When the subject of the contrast clause and the main clause are the same, you can often omit the subject and the verb `be’ in the contrast clause.
Although poor, we still have our pride. (Although we are poor…)
Though dying of cancer, he painted every day. (Though he was dying of cancer…)

2 Another way of making a contrast is to use `despite’ or `in spite of’, followed by a noun group.
Despite the difference in their ages they were close friends.
In spite of poor health, my father was always cheerful.

WARNING: You say `in spite of’ but `despite’ without `of’.

3 You can also use an `-ing’ form after `despite’ or `in spite of’.
Despite working hard, I failed my exams.
Conservative MPs are against tax rises, in spite of wanting lower inflation.

4 You can also use `despite the fact that’ or `in spite of the fact that’, followed by a clause.
Despite the fact that it sounds like science fiction, most of it is technically possible at this moment.
They ignored this order, in spite of the fact that they would probably get into trouble.

It is possible to omit `that’, especially in spoken English.
He insisted on playing, in spite of the fact he had a bad cold.