Using linking words to show contrast

(Download this explanation in PDF here.)
Read about linking words of reason (because, since, due to ...) here.

We use linking words to join ideas together when we're talking or writing. Sometimes we want to link two ideas that are different from each other (for example, one is a positive idea and one is a negative idea) or we want to link one idea to another one which is surprising or unexpected. We can use linking words like 'however', 'although' and 'despite' to do this.

Although
We can use 'although' at the beginning or in the middle of a sentence. It is used in front of a clause (a clause has at least a subject and a verb that agrees with the subject). Despite / in spite of
We use 'despite' or 'in spite of' before a noun or a gerund. It can also go in the middle or at the beginning of a sentence. 'Despite' and 'in spite of' mean exactly the same thing. You can choose whichever one you like! If you want to use 'despite' or 'in spite of' before a clause, you need to add 'the fact that'. However
We use 'although' and 'despite / in spite of' to connect two clauses in the same sentence. On the other hand, 'however' isn't used to connect two clauses. Instead, we usually put the two ideas in two separate sentences. We put 'however' in the second sentence, and we can put it at the beginning, at the end, or after the subject. Try an exercise about these words here.
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'A' and 'The' Explained