Expressing Concepts Such as 'Although' and 'In Spite Of'

Words or Phrases Known as Terms of Concession

Por más que te duela, es lo que necesitas. (Even though it hurts you, it's what you need.). Photo by Rufino; licensed via Creative Commons.

Spanish has several ways of indicating that what is said might seem to be at odds with what the listener might expect. Examples in English involve words or phrases such as "in spite of" or "nevertheless." In grammatical terms, statements using such terms are called statements of concession.

Following are some of the words or phrases of concession used in Spanish. Note that in the translations of sample sentences, a variety of English words can be used, depending on the context.

Note also that many of the Spanish words are freely interchangeable with at least one other. For example, there is no real difference in meaning between sin embargo and no obstante, although the latter is more formal, just as there is little or no difference in meaning between "even so" and "however." Also note that some of the words have uses other than those listed here.

Keep in mind that many of the words or phrases of concession can be followed by a verb in the subjunctive mood, especially if the verb refers to an action or state in the future, or to an action or state that is occurring in the present and is expected to continue to the future.

A pesar de: Come a pesar de todo. (He eats in spite of everything.) A pesar de las críticas, la cantante defiende su nueva imagen. (Despite the critics, the singer defends her new image.) A pesar de que somos oponentes políticos, no somos rivales personales.

(Even though we're political opponents, we aren't personal rivals.)

Así: Así yo tenga mucho trabajo, no tengo dinero. (Even though I have a lot of work, I don't have money.) Note: In other contexts, así often means "so" or otherwise is used to emphasize what precedes or follows. When así means "although," it is always followed by a verb in the subjunctive mood.

AunqueAunque estaba lloviznando, decidimos salir. (Although it was drizzling, we decided to leave.) Debes estudiar, aunque no quieras. (You must study even though you don't want to.) Es inteligente aunque algo excéntrica. (She's intelligent but a bit eccentric.)

Bien que: Explícame esto bien que no entiendo. (Explain this to me even though I don't understand.) Note: In most cases, bien que isn't a phrase but rather simply bien followed by que. For example, "está bien que existan diferencias" simply means "it is good that there are differences."

Incluso si: La guerra continuará incluso si el público se cansa. (The war will continue even if the public is tired of it.)

No obstante: No obstante este problema debe de estar en manos de la ONU. (However, this problem should be in the hands of the U.N.) No obstante, el último año también ha sido desalentador para mucha gente. (Nevertheless, the last year has been discouraging for many people.)

Por más que: Por más que te duela, es lo que necesitas. (Even though it hurts you, it's what you need.)

Por mucho que: Por mucho que gano, no consigo llegar a fin de mes. (However much I earn, I can't make it to the end of the month.)

Sin embargo: Sin embargo, cada uno salió del teatro.

(Nevertheless, each one left the theater.) Sin embargo, las cosas siguen muy complicadas en el Yucatán. (Even so, things keep on being very complex in the Yucatan.)

Siquiera: Tienes que reconocer un error, siquiera sea mínimo. (You have to recognize an error, even though it is minimal.)

Y eso que: El asfalto de este pueblucho triplica el calor que hace. Y eso que estamos al lado del mar. (The asphalt of this awful town makes it three times as hot even though we are next to the sea.) Estoy enfermo y eso que el horóscopo del diario no lo decía. (I am sick, although the daily horoscope didn't say that would happen.) Note: Y eso que is always followed by a verb in the indicative mood.

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Erichsen, Gerald. "Expressing Concepts Such as 'Although' and 'In Spite Of'." ThoughtCo, Mar. 2, 2017, Erichsen, Gerald. (2017, March 2). Expressing Concepts Such as 'Although' and 'In Spite Of'. Retrieved from Erichsen, Gerald. "Expressing Concepts Such as 'Although' and 'In Spite Of'." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 16, 2018).