• 2-minute read
  • 14th October 2015

How to Use ‘Although’, ‘Whereas’ and ‘Despite’

Three tricky words for students who speak English as a second language are ‘although’, ‘despite’ and ‘whereas’.

‘Although’ and ‘whereas’ are conjunctions, which means they’re used to join two ideas together; ‘despite’ is typically a preposition, so it indicates the relationship between words in a sentence.

While proofreading, we often see these words used incorrectly, so today we’ll clear up the confusion!


The word ‘although’ is a conjunction used to show that something is surprising or unexpected under the circumstances. For example:

Although Jane was a good student, she hasn’t found a job yet.

The ‘although’ here mean ‘despite the fact that’. The surprise in this case is because we expect good students to find work. Instead of using ‘although’, we could use the phrase ‘even though’ in exactly the same way.

It can also be used to mean ‘but’, such as in the sentence:

I love grammar, although it is difficult.

Here, we use ‘although’ in the second clause to qualify the first one.

Despite/In Spite Of

The phrase ‘in spite of’ and the word ‘despite’ are used to mean ‘without being affected by’. Like ‘although’, it can be used to suggest an unexpected relationship between two clauses:

Find this useful?

Subscribe to our newsletter and get writing tips from our editors straight to your inbox.

In spite of Jane being a good student, she hasn’t found a job yet.

The implication here is the same as above: i.e. that the second clause (about not finding a job) is unexpected due to the information introduced via ‘in spite of’ (Jane being a good student).

But since this word is not a conjunction, it cannot be used in place of ‘but’.


‘Whereas’ is a conjunction used to contrast two things:

The table was too small to fit by the window, whereas the rocking chair fitted perfectly.

Unlike the other terms here, ‘whereas’ does not necessarily imply that something is surprising.

For instance, there is no connection between the sizes of tables and rocking chairs, so there is no reason to assume that the chair would not fit just because the table was too large. We are simply making a comparison.

Good luck! Just remember, if you are unsure about any of these words, one of our proofreaders will be able to help.

Comments (11)
14th April 2018 at 14:41
I love these extract. It's helpful.
2nd May 2018 at 12:25
i still can't see the difference! : |
    3rd May 2018 at 14:34
    Hi, Hanan. What were you struggling with in particular? I've made a few amendments to this post now, as the old version was a bit confusing in places.
9th August 2018 at 11:07
is the following sentence correct ? : Though the consent of FIDA has been sought by DDA, whereas the Cost of GIS center at FIDA have been financed by PAW.
    10th August 2018 at 07:32
    Hi, Zahid. The sentence is nearly there, but not quite. There are a couple of grammatical issues, and if you are using British English, 'center' should be 'centre'. On top of that, you don't need to use both 'though' and 'whereas' in the same sentence. The best one will depend on what you want to communicate, which isn't obvious without more context. 'Though' means the same as 'although', so it suggests that the second clause will be unexpected. 'Whereas' introduces a contrast, so you would use this to highlight a difference between the two clauses. From the sentence alone, I think 'though' is the better fit. It would therefore be something like this: Though the DDA has sought the consent of FIDA, the cost of the GIS centre at FIDA has been financed by PAW.
Vaishali Gupta
3rd May 2019 at 10:12
Is this sentence correct- whereas despite increasing number of colleges and universities and with increased volume of academic courses and blooming industries, unemployment is constantly on rise.
    3rd May 2019 at 10:31
    Hi, Vaishali. There are a few problems with that sentence. It is hard to suggest a definite correction without knowing the context, so you may want to send your document for proofreading (https://proofed.co.uk/free-proofreading-and-editing-sample/), but perhaps it should be something like this: Despite increasing numbers of colleges and universities offering many academic courses, and although industries are blooming, unemployment is constantly on the rise.
nisha karia
27th April 2021 at 14:00
Are these correct? The grass is green whereas the rose is red. I like the grass as it is green but not the rose as it has thorns. I learnt English easily while / but could not manage with French. My sister is good with Maths, while I am good with Science. I have a home but not a car.
    27th April 2021 at 14:59
    Hi, Nisha. You are using the words correctly in those cases, but typically you would need a comma before introducing a contrast regardless of the word used. There are also a few minor errors in there (e.g. the capitalisation of 'maths' and 'science'). We would therefore write those sentences as follows: The grass is green, whereas the rose is red. I like the grass as it is green, but not the rose as it has thorns. I learnt English easily, but I could not do the same with French. My sister is good with maths, while I am good with science. I have a home, but not a car.
18th June 2021 at 17:05
Although I have a good intention to improve my English,I can't make time for it. Is it connect?
    18th June 2021 at 17:46
    Hi, Bnar. You are using 'although' correctly there, but there are some other issues in the sentence: it should probably be something more like 'Although I've been intending to improve my English, I can’t make time for it.'

Get help from a language expert.

Try our proofreading services for free.

More Writing Tips?
Trusted by thousands of leading
institutions and businesses

Make sure your writing is the best it can be with our expert English proofreading and editing.