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Nevertheless vs. Nonetheless: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 3, 2023
Nevertheless and nonetheless are interchangeable adverbs meaning "in spite of that"; the former is slightly more common in everyday language.

Key Differences

Nevertheless is an adverb often used to introduce a contrasting point that follows from the previous statement. Nonetheless serves the same function, highlighting a contrast or exception. Both words signal that the forthcoming information is somehow in contrast to what has been previously stated.
The usage of nevertheless can be seen frequently in formal writing as well as in spoken language. Nonetheless is equally correct but can sometimes be seen as more formal or less common in casual conversation. Both are used to acknowledge a point before pivoting to an opposing argument.
While neither word implies a significant difference in meaning, nevertheless has a slightly older origin, tracing back to the 14th century. Nonetheless emerged more recently, in the 19th century. Despite their different historical origins, both are used to signal concession or transition in modern English.
In terms of rhythm and phonetics, nevertheless consists of four syllables, which can impact the flow of a sentence differently compared to the three-syllable nonetheless. This may subtly influence a writer’s or speaker's preference, but in terms of grammar and meaning, the choice between them is largely a matter of style.
Although both words are functional synonyms, individual preference and the context of the sentence often guide their use. Writers or speakers might choose one over the other based on factors like cadence, familiarity, or simply personal habit, even though they convey the same concessionary meaning.

Comparison Chart

Usage Frequency

More common in everyday language
Less common, more formal


Four syllables
Three syllables


Middle English, around 14th century
More recent, 19th century


Stressed on the second syllable
Stressed on the second syllable


Common in both spoken and written English
Often preferred in written English

Nevertheless and Nonetheless Definitions


Signals determination in spite of difficulties.
She was underprepared, nevertheless, she gave the presentation.


Indicates persistence despite problems.
The path was dangerous; nonetheless, they moved forward.


Conveys contrast with a previous statement.
He was tired; nevertheless, he continued working.


In spite of that fact.
He knew it was risky; nonetheless, he proceeded.


Introduces a conclusive point that differs.
The problem seemed unsolvable; nevertheless, a solution was found.


Conveys a concession before pivoting.
The team was inexperienced; nonetheless, they won.


Marks a transition to an opposing argument.
The plan was risky; nevertheless, it was the only option.


Shows continuation in spite of opposition.
They were out of time; nonetheless, they were calm.


Despite anything to the contrary.
It was raining; nevertheless, we decided to hike.


Serves to introduce a contrasting idea.
It was an old car; nonetheless, it was reliable.


In spite of that; nonetheless; however
A small, nevertheless fatal error.


Nevertheless; however.


(conjunctive) Nevertheless.


Despite anything to the contrary (usually following a concession);
Although I'm a little afraid, however I'd like to try it
While we disliked each other, nevertheless we agreed
He was a stern yet fair master
Granted that it is dangerous, all the same I still want to go


Which is used more commonly, nevertheless or nonetheless?

Nevertheless is slightly more common, especially in spoken English.

Is nonetheless more formal than nevertheless?

It can be considered slightly more formal, but they're both used in formal writing.

Can nevertheless be used at the start of a sentence?

Yes, it's common to start a sentence with nevertheless for emphasis.

Can I use these words in academic writing?

Yes, both are suitable for academic or professional contexts.

Are nevertheless and nonetheless interchangeable?

Yes, they can be used interchangeably without changing the meaning of a sentence.

Is there a situation where I should prefer one over the other?

The choice is usually stylistic unless a certain cadence is desired in the text.

Can I use nevertheless in casual conversation?

Yes, it's perfectly fine to use in everyday speech.

Can these words be used to start a new paragraph?

Yes, they can be used to start a new paragraph, especially when presenting a contrasting point.

Is one more persuasive than the other?

Neither is inherently more persuasive; it depends on how they're used in argumentation.

Is nonetheless too formal for daily speech?

Not necessarily, but it might sound slightly more formal than nevertheless.

Do nevertheless and nonetheless have the same number of syllables?

No, nevertheless has four, while nonetheless has three.

How do I decide which word to use in my writing?

Consider your audience, the formality of the setting, and the flow of the sentence.

Can using these words too much make my writing repetitive?

Overuse of any word can be repetitive; it's best to vary your language.

What part of speech are nevertheless and nonetheless?

Both words are adverbs.

Do these words have the same meaning in all English dialects?

Yes, they have the same meaning in all varieties of English.

Are there any synonyms for nevertheless and nonetheless?

Yes, words like "however," "still," and "yet" are similar in use.

Can these words be part of a compound sentence?

Yes, they often introduce a contrasting clause in a compound sentence.

Do nevertheless and nonetheless have any different connotations?

Not significantly; any difference is very subtle and context-dependent.

Are there cases where neither word is appropriate?

If there's no contrast or concession, neither word should be used.

How do I teach the use of these words to ESL students?

Teach them as transition words that introduce a contrast to what was previously mentioned.
About Author
Written 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.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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