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Sentence patterns: Contrast clauses

Aim: This exercise is to help you to use contrast clauses correctly.

Introduction:
You use contrast clauses when you want to make two statements, one of which contrasts with the other or makes it appear unexpected or surprising. Some contrast clauses – called concessive clauses – are introduced by conjunctions such as although, even though or while.

    Although Mrs. Sims had lived in Hong Kong all her life, she knew very little Cantonese.

    While the number of families with access to the Internet and cable television has risen sharply in the past decade, what tends to be overlooked is that a significant proportion of households are unable to afford the fees for these services.

Don’t use but in sentences beginning with although, even though or while. Here is a common mistake:

      Although Kelvin worked hard, but he failed the examination.

You can leave out the subject and the verb be in a contrast clause when the subject of the contrast clause and the main clause are the same (e.g. he was in the following sentence).

      Though / Although [he was] hard working, Kelvin failed the examination.

You will sometimes see the word albeit used in formal English. Albeit can come before an adjective, adverb, or adverbial phrase. In the sentence below, ‘albeit rather reluctantly’ means ‘even though she did so rather reluctantly’.

      Jayne participated in the charity walk, albeit rather reluctantly.

You can also use despite or in spite of to make a contrast. These are followed by either a noun phrase or an ‘ing’ form.

      Despite working hard, Kelvin failed the examination.
      In spite of his hard work, Kelvin failed the examination.

This sentence is incorrect:

      Despite he worked hard, Kelvin failed the examination.

If you want to follow despite or in spite of with a clause you must add the fact that.

      Despite the fact that he worked hard, Kelvin failed the examination.

The word yet has many meanings. One of these is a similar meaning to but, although it expresses more surprise about something unexpected. It can come between adjectives, adverbs or clauses. For example:

      He was poor yet generous.
      He worked slowly yet effectively.
      He loved animals, yet he hated snakes.

Exercise
Choose the correct word(s) from the drop-down lists:

  1. he wasn't feeling very well, David was determined to take part in the inter-university athletics meet.

     

    Answer:
    Although he wasn't feeling very well, David was determined to take part in the inter-university athletics meet.

    Alternatives:

    • Even though he wasn't feeling very well, David was determined to take part in the inter-university athletics meet.
    • While he wasn't feeling very well, David was determined to take part in the inter-university athletics meet. (This while does not concern time; it concerns contrast.)
    • Despite the fact that he wasn't feeling very well, David was determined to take part in the inter-university athletics meet.
    • In spite of the fact that he wasn't feeling very well, David was determined to take part in the inter-university athletics meet.

    Grammar note: he wasn't feeling very well is a clause.
     

  2. Kelly managed to pass the Putonghua examination she hadn’t spoken the language for over two months.

     

    Answers:
    Kelly managed to pass the Putonghua examination despite the fact that she hadn’t spoken the language for over two months.
    Kelly managed to pass the Putonghua examination even though she hadn’t spoken the language for over two months.

    Explanation:
    In spite of is followed by a noun phrase, not a clause.
     

  3. having the best qualifications among all the applicants, Justin was not offered the job.

     

    Answer:
    Despite having the best qualifications among all the applicants, Justin was not offered the job.

    Explanation:
    having the best qualifications among all the applicants is a noun phrase.
     

  4. Fifteen years ago very few people used the Internet its use was limited to the military.

     

    Answers:
    Fifteen years ago very few people used the Internet because its use was restricted to the military.

    Alternatives:

    • On account of the fact that its use was restricted to the military, very few people used the Internet fifteen years ago.
    • Fifteen years ago very few people used the Internet due to the fact that its use was restricted to the military.
    • Fifteen years ago very few people used the Internet owing to the fact that its use was restricted to the military.

    Explanation:
    The second part of the sentence is a clause, with its use being the subject noun and was restricted to the verb phrase. In spite of would mean that many people used it.
     

  5. it is very popular, many older people do not know how to use the Internet.

     

    Answer:
    Even though it is very popular, many older people do not know how to use the Internet.

    Explanation:
    On account of does not show contrast. Despite is followed by a noun phrase, but it is very popular is a clause.
     

  6. its fast download speed, Broadband has many advantages.

     

    Answer:
    Because of its fast download speed, Broadband has many advantages.

    Explanation:
    its fast download speed is a noun phrase (there is no verb in it).
     

  7. acknowledging the benefits of learning English for academic or employment purposes, many scholars are concerned that some students learn English at the expense of their first language.

     

    Answer:
    While acknowledging the benefits of learning English for academic or employment purposes, many scholars are concerned that some students learn English at the expense of their first language.

    Explanation:
    Whereas and in spite of the fact that show contrast, but while shows concession (similar to although).
     

  8. Sally performed credibly in the final examination suffering from a heavy cold.

     

    Answer:
    Sally performed credibly in the final examination despite suffering from a heavy cold.

    Explanation:
    Albeit is wrong because suffering from a heavy cold is not an adjective, adverb, or adverbial phrase.
    Yet means but at the same time or nevertheless, so the meaning is not suitable here.


     

  9. Albert studied mathematics for two semesters, with little enthusiasm.

     

    Answer:
    Albert studied mathematics for two semesters, albeit / although with little enthusiasm.

    Explanation:
    Albeit means even though he did so. The phrase with little enthusiasm is an adverbial phrase, as it describes how Albert studied.
     

  10.  

    Your score is .

 

Last updated on: Monday, March 26, 2012