In spite of versus although

  • In spite of many failures, he did not give up. (many failures = noun phrase.)
  • In spite of failing many times, he did not give up. (failing = -ing form)
  • Although he failed many times, he did not give up. (although comes before a clause with the subject ‘he’ and the verb ‘failed’).

In spite of means the same as although,
However, although comes before a complete clause containing a subject and a verb.
In spite of cannot come before a clause. It must come before a noun phrase or an -ing form.




  1. In spite of is used before a fact which makes the rest of the sentence seem surprising by contrast. It can come before a noun phrase or an -ing form.
  2. Despite has the same meaning as in spite of, but sounds more formal or literary. We could
    use despite in the example sentences:
  3. Despite a bad cold,...
    Despite playing well…

  4. We could also write the example sentences the opposite way round

She sang brilliantly, in spite of a bad cold.
We lost the match, in spite of playing well.

  1. In spite of a bad cold, she sang brilliantly. (The fact that she sang well is surprising, given the fact that she had a bad cold).
  2. In spite of playing well, we lost the match. (in spite of before -ing form.)
contract: in spite of/despite (vs although)