Contrasting Ideas

There are a number of formulas used when contrasting ideas in English. Here are some of the most common:

  • We'd love to stay for dinner, but we have got to get going.
  • They decided to stay in the area, in spite of their problems with the local residents.
  • Despite the difficulties of a long journey, Peter decided to visit India.
  • Getting a good job is hard work, however, most people eventually find one with patience.
  • There were a number of people who came, although the hotels were not equipped to handle them all.

After you study these constructions, take the contrasting ideas quiz to check your understanding.

More English Functions

Disagreeing
Contrasting Ideas
Making Complaints
Asking for Information
Giving Advice
Guessing
Being Imprecise or Vague
Saying 'No' Nicely
Showing Preferences
Making Suggestions
Offering Help
Giving Warning
Demanding Explanations

Construction

FormulaExampleExplanation
main statement, but contrasting statementI'd really like to come to the film, but I have to study tonight.Use a comma or semi colon (;) with 'but'. 'But' is the most common way to show contrasting ideas.
main statement, in spite of contrasting statement OR in spite of contrasting statement, main statementThey continued on their journey, in spite of the pouring rain.Use 'in spite of' plus a noun, noun phrase or gerund
main statement, despite contrasting statement OR Despite contrasting statement, main statementThey continued on their journey, despite the pouring rain.Use 'despite' plus a noun, noun phrase or gerund
main statement, although contrasting statement OR Although contrasting statement, main statementWe wanted to buy a sports car, although we knew that fast cars can be dangerous.Use 'although' with a subject and a verb.