Despite your best efforts, you may not be able to figure out any difference between despite and in spite of. Is that because there really aren’t any differences?
In this article, we will define despite and in spite of, explain how they are typically used, and provide examples of their typical usage in sentences.
in spite of vs. despite
The word despite and the phrase in spite of are used as prepositions to mean “regardless of” or “notwithstanding.” Despite and in spite of are synonymous and can be used interchangeably in prepositional phrases.
Despite and in spite of have spite as a common element. As a noun, the word spite is used to mean “contempt” or “malice.” As a verb, it’s used to mean “to treat with malice” or “to annoy or thwart out of contempt.” The word spite originated as a variant of the word despite in its sense as a noun.
The (now rare) usage of despite as a noun to mean “malice” or “insult” is the only thing that separates it from the phrase in spite of, which is only ever used as a preposition. Besides this one rare difference, despite and in spite of are used completely interchangeably.
- We decided to go to the beach despite the bad weather.
- We decided to go to the beach in spite of the bad weather.
- He was a member of the band despite the fact that he didn’t know how to sing or play any instruments.
- He was a member of the band in spite of the fact that he didn’t know how to sing or play any instruments.
Examples of in spite of and despite used in a sentence
Let’s keep things friendly and look at how we use despite and in spite of in sentences.
- She entered the cave despite her fear of bats.
- Jack played the entire game in spite of his injured knee.
- They call it an Italian restaurant despite the fact that you can’t eat Italian food there.
- They call it an Italian restaurant in spite of the fact that you can’t eat Italian food there.
- Merlin used a spell to save Arthur despite his promise to never use magic again.
- Merlin used a spell to save Arthur in spite of his promise to never use magic again.