How to Use Despite and In Spite of Correctly

How to Use Despite and In Spite of Correctly

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In today’s blog post, we will look into the correct use of ‘despite’ and ‘in spite of’. We will discuss a little about why Malaysians shy away from using ‘despite’ and ‘in spite of’ so that we can understand why these two phrases are less practised. Besides that, we will go through the definitions of ‘despite’ and ‘in spite of’. And more importantly, we will show how to use ‘despite’ and ‘in spite of’ in sentences. These examples include Bahasa Melayu translations for better clarity and comprehension.

In Malaysia, the use of these two phrases is considered a more sophisticated form of English. Malaysians prefer using the words equivalent to ‘despite’ and ‘in spite of’ such as ‘although’, ‘even though’, and ‘while’. Due to that reason, Malaysians don’t use these two phrases often enough to familiarise themselves with how to use them. In fact, most Malaysians assume that ‘despite’ and ‘in spite of’ don’t have the same meaning and are used differently.

Use Them As You Would For ‘Although’ and ‘Even Though’

Both ‘despite’ and ‘in spite of’ carry the same meaning as ‘although’ and ‘even though’. This means, in Bahasa Melayu these phrases carry the meaning of ‘walaupun‘, ‘meskipun‘, ‘sekalipun‘ and ‘biarpun‘. That being said, the use of the words is also as plainly as ‘although’ and ‘even though’. And that both ‘despite’ and ‘in spite of’ work in identical ways.

As with other prepositions like ‘although’ and ‘even though’, ‘despite’ and ‘in spite of’ connect two clauses by showing their contrast. They show how two opposing ideas connect where one fact makes the other fact intriguing. In order to link one fact with its ‘flip side’, we must use a noun or a gerund after the phrases.

He has a hunched back despite his young age.

The sentence above shows the use of ‘despite’ using a noun (his young age). The Bahasa Melayu translation for this sentence is as follows:

Dia bongkok walaupun masih muda.

Observe the same sentence below when using ‘in spite of’:

He has a hunched back in spite of his young age.

Despite her trying tirelessly, she could not retrieve the photos from the wet hard disk.

The sentence above shows the use of ‘despite’ using a gerund (trying). The Bahasa Melayu translation for this sentence is as follows:

Walaupun dia cuba sedaya upaya, dia tidak berjaya mendapatkan kembali gambar-gambar dari cakera keras yang basah itu.

Observe the same sentence below when using ‘in spite of’:

In spite of her trying tirelessly, she could not retrieve the photos from the wet hard disk.

She completed a 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle in spite of her busy work schedule.

The sentence above shows the use of ‘in spite’ using a noun (her busy work schedule). The Bahasa Melayu translation for this sentence is as follows:

Dia menyiapkan sebuah susun suai gambar berjumlah 10,000 keping meskipun jadual kerjanya padat.

Observe the same sentence below when using ‘despite’:

She completed a 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle despite her busy schedule.

In spite of lacking in their own education, they managed to raise well-educated children.

The sentence above shows the use of ‘in spite of’ using a gerund (lacking). The Bahasa Melayu translation for this sentence is as follows:

Biarpun mereka kurang berpendidikan, mereka membesarkan anak-anak yang berpelajaran tinggi.

Observe the same sentence below when using ‘despite’:

Despite lacking in their own education, they managed to raise well-educated children.

Let’s not leave her alone despite her assurances.

The sentence above shows the use of ‘despite’ using a noun (her assurances). The Bahasa Melayu translation for this sentence is as follows:

Usah kita tinggalkan dia berseorangan walaupun dia menegah.

Observe the same sentence below when using ‘in spite of’:

Let’s not leave her alone in spite of her assurances.

In spite of studying to become a lawyer, he runs a full-time business.

The sentence above shows the use of ‘in spite of’ using a gerund (studying). The Bahasa Melayu translation for this sentence is as follows:

Meskipun sedang belajar untuk menjadi peguam, dia tetap menjalankan perniagaannya secara sepenuh masa.

Observe the same sentence below when using ‘despite’:

Despite studying to become a lawyer, he runs a full-time business.

Conclusion

From the explanation and examples above, it shows that there is no difference between ‘despite’ and ‘in spite of’. Besides that, the above also shows that the phrases are used the same way as we would for ‘although’ and ‘even though’. The examples above are proof that there is no need to feel intimidated when using ‘despite’ or ‘in spite of’. As a matter of fact, it adds some finesse to your communication, especially when used correctly.

I hope this blog post is useful and benefits its readers. If you are keen to learn more about Malaysian common grammar errors and how to correct them, you may read more posts from me below:

How To Use Albeit Correctly
Farther vs Further
Hardly Isn’t Kuat-Kuat

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