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Concessive clause

A concessive clause is a clause which begins with "although" or "even though" and which expresses an idea that suggests the opposite of the main part of the sentence. The sentence "Although he's quiet, he's not shy" begins with a concessive clause- "Although he's quiet " which has an opposite meaning of - "he's not shy" which is the main part of the sentence. NOTE: " In spite of" , " despite" have similar meaning to "although" or "even though". BUT they don't introduce clauses. They have different syntax. They are followed by nouns or gerunds (verb+ing.) They don't introduce a clause (subject + verb.)

Although, even though:


Study these examples: "He had enough money." " He refused to buy a new car." The above two statements can be combined as follows : Although he had enough money, he refused to buy a new car Even though OR although he had enough money. even though

He refused to buy a new car

Structure: "Although", and "even though" introduce concessive clauses. Although /even though Examples: Although it was raining, he walked to the station. Even though she is very old, she runs fast. subject verb

Despite / in spite of:

Despite and in spite of do not introduce a concessive clause. They are rather followed by a noun or a verb+ing form. Study this example: "He had enough money." "He refused to buy a new car." The above two statements can be combined as follows : Despite In spite of all his money, having enough money, OR despite in spite of all his money. having enough money.

he refused to buy a new car.

He refused to buy a new car

Structure + a noun, Despite / in spite of + verb + ing.

Examples: Despite /in spite of the rain, he walked to the station. Despite /in spite of being tired, he walked to the station.

Remember:
1. Although, even though + subject + verb (Concessive clause) 3. In spite of, despite + noun or verb+ing (Not a concessive clause) 2. There are structural similarities between:

"in spite of", "despite" and "although", "even though" "because of", "due to", "owing to", "thanks to" and "because", "since ,"as", "for". (Expressing cause and effect) In spite of + noun

Despite Because of Due to owing to Thanks to Although Even though Because Since For As + verb

More on cause and effect to see the use of "because, since, as, for, because of, due to ... "

Clauses of Concession: How to Express Contrast in English


Concessive clauses are also called contrast clauses. They usually denote some obstacle which does not prevent the realization of the action expressed in the main clause. For example:
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Although it was very cold and rainy (contrast clause expressing an obstacle), we enjoyed our trip to New York (main clause).

In the above example, the idea expressed in the first clause contrasts with the idea expressed in the second clause. Subordinators in Contrast Clauses The first word that introduces the contrast clause in the above example is called a subordinator. In this article, we are going to learn to use some concessive subordinators which you can confidently use in contrast clauses on a regular basis: although, even though, though, while, and whereas. The article will also show you how to use the prepositions in spite of and despite to express contrast, and I shall explain how you can use the adverb however and the conjunction/adverb though to talk about contrast. But first of all, let me quickly explain how subordinators function. Subordinators are linking words that join clauses to make sentences. They have a big effect on words in sentences. A clause without a subordinator forms a complete statement and can stand alone, while a clause introduced by a subordinator cannot stand alone and therefore forms a statement that is incomplete. For example:

It was very cold and rainy.

This sentence forms a complete thought because it is not introduced by a subordinator.

Although it was cold and rainy. (the reader or listener wants to know what happens next because the thought is incomplete)

The above statement is incomplete because the first word in it is a subordinator. If you remove this subordinator from the clause, your statement will become complete. This subordinate clause is therefore dependent on the following main clause to complete its meaning:

Although it was very cold and rainy (subordinate contrast clause), we enjoyed our trip to London (main clause).

Now the reader or listener is able to fully understand the statement. A note to remember: Main clauses are never introduced by subordinators and can therefore always form a complete thought. That's why they are also called independent clauses in English grammar. Although, Though and Even Though

Although, though and even though are subordinators used in contrast clauses. They are also called subordinating conjunctions. They all introduce an idea which contrasts with the main clause. For example:

Although Tanya was half asleep, she remembered to set the house alarm. Though Tanya was half asleep, she remembered to set the house alarm. Even though Tanya was half asleep, she remembered to set the house alarm.

The three subordinators have the same meaning; however, though is more common in informal speech than although. Even though is a stonger form of although and though and is definitely more emphatic than although. Let's sum it up: If you want to sound very informal, use though instead of although. If you want to sound very emphatic (concession is made more emphatic by using the modifier even), then you can use even though instead of although and though. The three subordinators always come before the subject and verb in a clause. The although/though/even though clause can come before or after the main clause. One more example:

I didn't get the job as an actor although I had all the necessary qualifications.

While and Whereas We can use while or whereas, which are subordinating conjunctions, to say that something in the subordinate clause contrasts with something in the main clause. The two subordinators are interchangeable and show major contrast. For example:

I am quiet and shy (main clause), while my sister is lively and talkative. I am quiet and shy (main clause), whereas my sister is lively and talkative.

The above two sentences express a contrast between two ideas. As you can see, while is not only used to express time; it can also express contrast.The while/whereas clause can come before or after the main clause. One more example:

While/Whereas my father is strong and tall, I am short and weak.

While/Whereas don't denote some obstacle which does not prevent the realization of the action in the main clause, but are used to show how one person, thing, or place is different from another. In spite of and Despite We can use the prepositions in spite of and despite to talk about contrast. After them you always have to use a noun, a pronoun, or an ing form of a verb (gerund). For example:

In spite of the rain(noun), we started to play basketball. Despite the rain (noun), we started to play basketball. In spite of having (gerund) a migraine headache, I decided to go out on a date. Despite having (gerund) a migraine headache, I decided to go out on a date.

In spite of and despite are interchangeable. However, despite is slightly more formal than in spite of. Here you can learn more about the two prepositions. Though and However Though is not only a conjunction; if placed at the end of a sentence, it functions as an adverb. In spoken English, we can use though at the end of a sentence to show contrast. For example:

The cottage isn't very nice. I like the garden though. (= but I like the garden) I see my neighbors every day. I've never spoken to them though. (= but I've never spoken to them)

In more formal English, the adverb however can be used instead. For example:

The cottage isn't very nice. However, I like the garden. I see my neighbors every day. However, I've never spoken to them.

If you would like to test your knowledge of concessive clauses, pick up Raymond Murphy's English Grammar in Use, which is suitable for intermediate and upper-intermediate learners of English. Contrast clauses exercises can be found in Unit 112. Advanced students of English can use Martin Hewings's Advanced Grammar in Use. Contrast clauses exercises can be found in Unit 82.