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However vs. Despite: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on December 29, 2023
'However' is used to introduce a contrast or contradiction, while 'despite' indicates that something happens regardless of a particular fact or situation.

Key Differences

'However' is typically used as a conjunctive adverb to introduce a statement that contrasts with or seems contradictory to the previous statement. 'Despite' is a preposition that introduces a phrase indicating that something occurs even if there is a potential hindrance or contrary condition.
'However' often signals a shift in thought or perspective, suggesting a difference in opinion or an alternative viewpoint. 'Despite' implies persistence or occurrence in spite of difficulties or opposing factors, without necessarily signaling a shift in the argument or discussion.
In terms of sentence structure, 'however' is often used with a comma and can appear at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence. 'Despite' leads into a noun or noun phrase and indicates a contrast in conditions or circumstances, not directly in arguments or ideas.
'However' can also be used to modify a verb, adjective, or another adverb, typically meaning 'in whatever way' or 'to whatever extent'. 'Despite', being a preposition, is always followed by a noun or noun phrase, focusing on the condition under which an action or event occurs.
'However' is versatile in its placement within a sentence and in the types of contrast it can introduce. 'Despite' is more limited to introducing phrases that provide context of endurance or resilience against certain conditions or facts.

Comparison Chart

Part of Speech

Conjunctive adverb

Function in a Sentence

Introduces contrast or contradiction
Indicates persistence in spite of contrary conditions

Sentence Position

Can be used at the beginning, middle, or end
Precedes a noun or noun phrase

Typical Usage

Signals a shift in thought or perspective
Shows occurrence despite difficulties

Meaning Variations

Can mean 'in whatever way' or 'to whatever extent'
Always relates to enduring or overcoming conditions

However and Despite Definitions


However can be used to modify a degree or extent.
However hard it may seem, keep trying.


Despite is used before a noun or phrase.
Despite his fears, he spoke confidently.


However can indicate a differing opinion or alternative.
He likes coffee; however, I prefer tea.


Despite is a preposition focusing on resilience.
Despite her injury, she completed the race.


However can start, interrupt, or conclude a sentence.
However, we must consider other factors.


Despite shows something happens regardless of conditions.
Despite the odds, she succeeded.


However can introduce a contrast or exception.
She was tired; however, she completed her work.


Despite indicates overcoming a hindrance or difficulty.
Despite the setbacks, they finished on time.


However can suggest any possible way or method.
You can solve it however you like.


Despite introduces a contrast by indicating persistence.
Despite the rain, the game continued.


In spite of that; nevertheless; yet
The book is expensive.
However, it's worth it.


In spite of; notwithstanding
Won the game despite overwhelming odds.


Is 'despite' a preposition?

Yes, it is used before a noun or noun phrase.

Can 'however' be used in the middle of a sentence?

Yes, with commas for emphasis.

What does 'despite' mean?

Indicates something occurs even with opposing conditions.

Can 'however' start a sentence?

Yes, it can begin a sentence to introduce contrast.

How is 'despite' typically used?

To show persistence despite difficulties.

What's an alternative to 'however'?

Words like 'nevertheless' or 'yet'.

Can 'despite' introduce a clause?

No, it introduces a noun or noun phrase.

Is 'despite' used in formal writing?

Yes, it's common in both formal and informal writing.

What does 'however' mean?

It introduces a contrasting idea or statement.

Can 'despite' indicate a positive outcome?

Yes, especially in overcoming challenges.

Is 'however' a formal word?

It is commonly used in both formal and informal contexts.

What can be used instead of 'despite'?

'In spite of' is a common alternative.

Can 'however' be replaced with 'but'?

In some contexts, though 'however' is more formal.

Can 'however' modify adjectives?

Yes, as in 'however difficult'.

Does 'despite' need a 'the' before it?

Not necessarily, it depends on the noun following it.

Can 'despite' show a cause-and-effect relationship?

Indirectly, by highlighting resilience.

Can 'however' change the tone of a sentence?

Yes, it can shift the perspective or tone.

How does 'however' differ from 'although'?

'However' is more flexible in sentence placement.

Can 'despite' be at the end of a sentence?

No, it typically precedes a noun phrase.

Is 'however' used in argumentative essays?

Yes, to present contrasting points.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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