“Although” is a subordinating conjunction.  It is used before a subject to introduce an idea which contrasts with the main clause of a sentence. The main clause usually indicates something unexpected or surprising. 

Like this:

“Although I studied really hard, I didn’t pass the test.”

“Although he is rich, he isn’t happy.”

Or like this:

“I didn’t pass the test, although I studied really hard.”

“He isn’t happy, although he is rich.”


Despite is a preposition.  It is used before a noun or pronoun to express a contrasting idea.  

Like this:

“Despite his money he isn’t happy.”

“Despite his high grades, he didn’t pass the class.”

“We went out despite the rain.”

“Despite” is often used before a gerund (which is a sort of noun).  

Like this:

“Despite having money he isn’t happy.”

“Despite having high grades, he didn’t pass the test.”

In Spite Of

“In spite of” is used the same as as “despite.”  Just remember that you cannot use “despite of”.

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