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Linking Words: Contrasting Ideas

Linking Words in English: Contrast

Linking words to help you contrast things in English

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But / However

But is more informal than however. You can use however at the beginning of a sentence, but you can’t use but at the beginning of a sentence (in written English).

  • I tried to lift the box, but it was too heavy for me.
  • I tried to lift the box. However, it was too heavy for me.

Although / Even though

These linking words are the same, and they are both followed by a subject + verb.

  • Although I exercise every day, I can’t seem to lose any weight.
  • She still loves him, even though he treated her very badly.

Despite / In spite of

These linking words are the same, and they are followed by a noun or a gerund (-ing form of the verb, which can function as a noun).

  • Our plane arrived on time in spite of the delay during takeoff.
  • We won the game despite having two fewer players.

Despite the fact that / in spite of the fact that

These phrases are followed by a subject + verb.

  • Our plane arrived on time in spite of the fact that it left 30 minutes late.
  • We won the game despite the fact that we had two fewer players.

While / Whereas / Unlike

These linking words are used to make contrasts. While and whereas are usually used between two complete phrases. Unlike is typically used with only a subject.

  • I like tennis, while my brother prefers bowling.
  • This cell phone plan costs $0.05 per minute, whereas that one gives you up to 800 minutes per month for a fixed price.
  • His boss allows him to work from home, unlike mine.
  • She’s very friendly, unlike her sister.


Linking Words Quiz: Contrasting Ideas

Choose the best linking word for each sentence. Good luck!
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