Difference Between Despite and In spite (Explained)

Welcome to our article where we unravel the mystery behind the usage of the words “despite” and “in spite of.” These two prepositions may seem similar, but there are nuances that can help you navigate their correct usage effortlessly. Let’s dive in and explore the difference between despite and in spite of.

Key Takeaways:

  • Despite and in spite of are essentially synonymous.
  • They convey the meaning of “notwithstanding,” “even though,” or “regardless of.”
  • Both can introduce contrasting information in a sentence.
  • They can be followed by a noun, gerund, or a phrase with words like what or how.
  • Despite can also be used as a noun to mean “malice” or “insult.”

difference between despite and inspite

Now that we’ve established the basics, let’s take a closer look at the usage, syntax, and origin of despite and in spite of. By understanding these nuances, you’ll be able to wield these prepositions with precision and clarity in your writing.

Usage of Despite and In spite of

Despite and in spite of are both prepositions that introduce contrast. They can be used at the beginning or within a sentence, but typically require an additional clause to provide the contrasting information. For example: “In spite of the variety of options at the store, I couldn’t find a fitting dress.” It’s important to note that the independent clause must be present to balance the prepositional phrase starting with “in spite of” or “despite.”

These prepositions are often used to express a sense of unexpectedness or contradiction. They highlight a situation where something surprising or contrary happens despite the presence of other factors. The usage of despite and in spite of allows the writer to emphasize the contrast between the expected and the actual outcome.

Additionally, both despite and in spite of can be used to indicate a sense of defiance or determination in the face of obstacles. By using these prepositions, the writer conveys a sense of perseverance or resilience despite challenging circumstances.

Usage Example
Beginning of a sentence Despite the heavy rain, she continued her outdoor workout.
Within a sentence She continued her outdoor workout, in spite of the heavy rain.
Contrasting information In spite of his busy schedule, he managed to complete the project.

What Comes After Despite and In spite of

A crucial aspect of using the prepositions “despite” and “in spite of” correctly is understanding what can come after them. After these prepositions, there are three main options for what can follow: a noun, a gerund (a verb acting as a noun), or a phrase with words like “what” or “how.” Let’s explore each of these options in more detail.

Noun

The most straightforward choice to follow “despite” or “in spite of” is a noun. This noun represents the thing or situation that is being contrasted with in the main clause of the sentence. For example, you could say, “Despite the heavy rain, the soccer game continued,” where “heavy rain” is the noun that follows “despite.” Similarly, you could say, “In spite of the traffic, she arrived on time,” where “traffic” is the noun following “in spite of.”

Gerund

Another option is to use a gerund, which is a verb that acts as a noun. In this case, the gerund represents an action or activity that is being contrasted with in the main clause. For instance, you might say, “Despite his complaining, they went ahead with the plan,” where “complaining” is the gerund following “despite.” Likewise, you could say, “In spite of her singing abilities, she chose not to pursue a career in music,” where “singing abilities” is the gerund following “in spite of.

Phrase with “What” or “How”

The third option is to use a phrase containing words like “what” or “how” to follow “despite” or “in spite of.” These phrases provide additional information or context about the contrasting situation. For example, you could say, “Despite what he said, I still trust him,” where “what he said” is the phrase following “despite.” Similarly, you could say, “In spite of how difficult it was, she managed to complete the project,” where “how difficult it was” is the phrase following “in spite of.”

In conclusion, when using “despite” or “in spite of,” it’s important to consider what comes after these prepositions. You have the option of using a noun, a gerund, or a phrase with words like “what” or “how.” By understanding the possibilities, you can effectively convey contrast and add clarity to your writing.

Origins of Despite and In spite of

Despite and in spite of are both prepositions that have their origins in the word “spite.” Spite is a word that refers to ill will or contempt, and it can be used both as a noun and a verb. The prepositions despite and in spite of carry a sense of going against or disregarding something despite negative feelings or circumstances.

While the contemporary usage of these prepositions is not as spiteful as the word itself, there may still be a hint of contempt implied in their choice. For example, when someone “does something despite warnings,” it suggests a deliberate act of going against the advice given, almost as if to show disregard or defiance.

Despite the strict guidelines, the rebels continued their protest.

In spite of the challenges they faced, the team persevered and emerged victorious.

It is fascinating to see how language evolves and how words take on new meanings over time. Despite and in spite of are no exception, with their origins in a word associated with animosity and ill will, but now used in a more neutral or even positive context to express resilience and determination in the face of obstacles.

Table: Usage Comparison

Despite In spite of
Can also be used as a noun meaning “malice” or “insult.” Solely used as a preposition.
Used in prepositional phrases. Used in prepositional phrases.
Example: Despite the bad weather. Example: In spite of the bad weather.

Difference Between Despite and In spite of

Despite and in spite of may appear to be different, but in reality, they are virtually identical in their usage. Both prepositions convey the meaning of “notwithstanding,” “even though,” or “regardless of.” The only real difference between them is that despite can also be used as a noun to mean “malice” or “insult,” while in spite of is solely used as a preposition.

For example, consider the following sentences: “Despite the bad weather” and “In spite of the bad weather.” These two phrases have the same meaning and can be used interchangeably in prepositional phrases.

When it comes to correct syntax and usage, despite and in spite of are always used in a subordinate clause to contrast with the information given in the main clause of a sentence. They are typically used before nouns, gerunds, or phrases containing relative pronouns like what or who. Here are some examples: “Despite the cost, she decided to travel” and “In spite of my practicing, I can’t play the piano.”

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Overall, despite and in spite of are synonymous and can be used interchangeably in most cases. While there is a slight difference in usage when it comes to the noun form of despite, in most situations, these terms can be used without any distinction. Understanding the correct syntax and usage of these prepositions is essential for clear and coherent writing.

Correct Syntax and Usage of Despite and In spite of

When using the prepositions “despite” and “in spite of,” it is important to understand the correct syntax and usage to ensure clarity in your writing. These two terms are typically used in a subordinate clause to contrast with the information provided in the main clause of a sentence. They can be used before nouns, gerunds (verbs acting as nouns), or phrases containing relative pronouns like “what” or “who.”

For example, consider the sentence “Despite the cost, she decided to travel.” Here, “despite the cost” introduces a contrast to the decision of traveling, emphasizing that the cost was not a deterrent. Similarly, in the sentence “In spite of my practicing, I can’t play the piano,” “in spite of my practicing” contrasts with the inability to play the piano despite the effort put into practicing.

It is crucial to note that “despite” and “in spite of” are not standalone phrases and require an additional clause to provide the contrasting information. They can be used at the beginning or within a sentence, but they must be accompanied by an independent clause to maintain sentence balance. By using these prepositions correctly, you can effectively convey contrast and emphasize the resilience of an action or situation.

Summary:

  • “Despite” and “in spite of” are used in a subordinate clause to contrast with the main clause of a sentence.
  • They can be used before nouns, gerunds, or phrases containing relative pronouns.
  • These prepositions require an additional clause to provide the contrasting information.
  • It is important to use them in a balanced sentence to maintain clarity and coherence.

Conclusion

Despite and in spite of are interchangeable prepositions that convey the meaning of “regardless of” or “even though.” While there is a slight difference in usage when it comes to the noun form of despite, in most situations, these terms can be used interchangeably without any distinction.

It’s important to consider the correct syntax and usage of these prepositions to ensure clarity and coherence in your writing. Despite and in spite of are always used in a subordinate clause to contrast with the information given in the main clause of a sentence. They are typically used before nouns, gerunds, or phrases containing relative pronouns like what or who.

By understanding the difference between despite and in spite of and following the correct syntax, you can effectively convey contrast and convey your message in a clear and concise manner. So, whether you choose to use despite or in spite of, rest assured that you are communicating effectively and accurately.

FAQ

What is the difference between despite and in spite?

Despite and in spite are essentially synonymous and can be used interchangeably in most cases.

How can despite and in spite be used in a sentence?

Both prepositions introduce contrast and typically require an additional clause to provide the contrasting information.

What can come after despite and in spite of?

After despite or in spite of, a noun, a gerund, or a phrase with words like what or how can follow.

What is the origin of despite and in spite of?

Despite and in spite of derive from the word “spite,” which means ill will or contempt.

Is there any difference between despite and in spite of?

The only real difference is that despite can also be used as a noun to mean “malice” or “insult.” In spite of is solely used as a preposition.

How should despite and in spite of be used correctly?

Despite and in spite of are always used in a subordinate clause to contrast with the information given in the main clause of a sentence. They are typically used before nouns, gerunds, or phrases containing relative pronouns.

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