Despite the fact/In spite of the fact

shannenms

Senior Member
Persian
Which one is correct?
In spite of the fact I searched the web, I didn't come up with a good find.
Despite the fact I searched the web, I didn't come up with a good find.

Thanks.
 
  • Matamoscas

    Senior Member
    Ireland English
    I would say that despite the fact that...is more usual; perhaps the notion of spite in the alternative has made it less popular (if indeed it is in other Englishes).
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Neither is correct.
    Although I searched the web, I didn't come up with a good find.
    I searched the web but I didn't come up with a good find.

    I have some reservations about "a good find".

    Using either "In spite of ..." or "Despite ..." demands a different structure.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I would say that despite the fact that:tick:...is more usual; perhaps the notion of spite in the alternative has made it less popular (if indeed it is in other Englishes). Maybe it's just a question of brevity
    Shannen, with despite you can, alternatively, use [possessive adjective +] gerund, so:
    Despite (my) searching the whole internet, I didn't find anything good.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    There's no need for it in your example, because 'I' is the subject of both halves of the sentence. (That's why I put it in parentheses).
    If the subjects differ, it's best to use a possessive adj.:
    Despite all their* best efforts searching for the assailant, he was never found.
    [*Where their refers to, e.g. the police]
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    That's better, although without context, still rather vague. You could also have said something like 'interesting', but it, too suffers from the same fault. Probably it would be better to say 'I couldn't find what I was looking for,'
     

    Joobs

    Banned
    Glasgow, Scotland - English
    That's better, although without context, still rather vague. You could also have said something like 'interesting', but it, too suffers from the same fault. Probably it would be better to say 'I couldn't find what I was looking for,'
    I'd say change "find" for "example" thus:

    "I couldn't find a good example"

    This would fit most situations since you are implying that you never found anything to definitively prove or substantiate your question.

    As for the original sentence, "Despite" works.

    "In spite of" doesn't really have the same meaning it commonly means an action done in knowledge of (and irrespective of) the probable outcome.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Which one is correct?
    In spite of the fact I searched the web, I didn't come up with a good find.
    Despite the fact I searched the web, I didn't come up with a good find.

    Thanks.
    Personally, I find both options unobjectionable.

    The second option is simply more elegant than the first.
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    Personally, I find both options unobjectionable.

    The second option is simply more elegant than the first.
    That's what's been bugging me too. The expression sounded a little unusual perhaps, but I could not come up with a logical exception. I have been wondering why panjandrum was so condemning.:) Happy Christmas.
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    That's what's been bugging me too. The expression sounded a little unusual perhaps, but I could not come up with a logical exception. I have been wondering why panjandrum was so condemning.:) Happy Christmas.
    I think that I agree with Panj because neither of "in spite of" or "despite" work. "Despite" or "in spite of" basically mean "notwithstanding". You wouldn't say:

    "Notwithstanding that I searched the web, I didn't come up with a good find/example".

    That's like saying "In spite of the fact that I looked it up in the dictionary, I couldn't find the meaning of the word".

    Finding the meaning of the word (or the good find) is not despite/in spite of looking it up.

    I agree with Panj that it should be "although".
     

    kenny4528

    Senior Member
    Mandarin, Taiwan
    Hi, Dimcl

    I just find this thread where it seems to be suggesting the Despite the fact and although are interchangeable in that context. I wonder why Despite the fact is not suitable in the context given by OP, is it because they have different structure?
     

    Joobs

    Banned
    Glasgow, Scotland - English
    That's what's been bugging me too. The expression sounded a little unusual perhaps, but I could not come up with a logical exception. I have been wondering why panjandrum was so condemning.:)
    No idea. Personally I don't have any objections to "Despite" but "In Spite of" is a phrase and not a word so meaning and usage is different.

    To expand on what I alluded to earlier and illustrate the subtle difference:

    "Despite my best efforts I was unable to extinguish the fire and the house burnt down." - You tried to do something but your efforts failed.

    "Up until my arrest I had continued to Drink and Drive in spite of all the repeated warnings about doing so." - You did something irrespective of knowing the probable outcome.

    (Note these aren't from personal experience :eek: - honest. :D)

    Happy Christmas.
    You too. :)
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    I think that I agree with Panj because neither of "in spite of" or "despite" work. "Despite" or "in spite of" basically mean "notwithstanding". You wouldn't say:

    "Notwithstanding that I searched the web, I didn't come up with a good find/example".

    That's like saying "In spite of the fact that I looked it up in the dictionary, I couldn't find the meaning of the word".

    Finding the meaning of the word (or the good find) is not despite/in spite of looking it up.

    I agree with Panj that it should be "although".
    I too, agreed with panjandrum's suggestion, but was surprised by his unqualified 'wrong' comment. However, your explanation makes sense.
     

    Joobs

    Banned
    Glasgow, Scotland - English
    I too, agreed with panjandrum's suggestion, but was surprised by his unqualified 'wrong' comment. However, your explanation makes sense.
    Got to disagree I don't think "Despite" is truly wrong in its usage here. However, I do agree that "Although" is better style and would sit better a slightly changed original sentence. I do think this is more a matter of style than correct usage.
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Got to disagree I don't think "Despite" is truly wrong in its usage here. However, I do agree that "Although" is better style and would sit better a slightly changed original sentence. I do think this is more a matter of style than correct usage.
    "In spite of" and "despite" mean in disregard or defiance of. Accordingly, the two examples provided by you previously fit that definition:

    "Despite my best efforts I was unable to extinguish the fire and the house burnt down." -

    In defiance of your best efforts, the house burnt down.

    "Up until my arrest I had continued to Drink and Drive in spite of all the repeated warnings about doing so."

    In defiance of the warnings, you continued to drink and drive (why did you capitalize those words, by the way?)

    Here are Shannenms's sentences:

    In spite of the fact I searched the web, I didn't come up with a good find.
    Despite the fact I searched the web, I didn't come up with a good find.

    In what way was there disregard or defiance of anything in those sentences?
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    Got to disagree I don't think "Despite" is truly wrong in its usage here. However, I do agree that "Although" is better style and would sit better a slightly changed original sentence. I do think this is more a matter of style than correct usage.
    This is truly a hard point to find a consensus on. The more I think about it, the less convinced I am that the original idea is wrong. The Cambridge Advanced Learner's gives this as one of the definitions of 'in spite of':

    in spite of (used before one fact that makes another fact surprising) despite:

    To my way of thinking this fits perfectly with the original: 'I looked the word up in the dictionary but to my surprise I couldn't find it.'

    In spite of the fact I searched the web, I didn't come up with a good find.(Surprise, surprise!)

    Therefore, I'm more inclined to Joobs' idea that it is probably more to do with a question of style.
     

    shannenms

    Senior Member
    Persian
    At last I didn't find out what to do with these two sentences. I try to express myself clearly:
    1-In almost all the sentences suggested as answer, you have used a noun not a sentence after despite, which makes me repeat the question in other form: Is it possible to use a sentence after despite, or should I use a phrase like the fact?
    Thanks.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Shannems, you are now asking a very different question.

    Your original question was
    Which one is correct?
    In spite of the fact I searched the web, I didn't come up with a good find.
    Despite the fact I searched the web, I didn't come up with a good find.
    You have had a range of answers to this; but I think most contributors believe that both options are correct. Certainly I do.

    Now you are asking
    In almost all the sentences suggested as answer, you have used a noun not a sentence after despite, which makes me repeat the question in other form: Is it possible to use a sentence after despite, or should I use a phrase like the fact?
    Thanks.
    I will try to answer your new question taking into account the alternatives in your original question.

    Both despite and in spite of are followed by nouns or noun phrases, not by sentences.

    You cannot say:

    :cross:Despite I searched the web...
    :cross:In spite of I searched the web...

    You can say:

    :tick:Despite the fact [that] I searched the web...
    :tick:In spite of the fact [that] I searched the web...

    You can also say, using the gerund (a verbal noun):

    :tick:Despite searching the web...
    :tick:In spite of searching the web...

    I suspect it was a preference for the gerund option which led panjandrum to criticise the "fact that" option.

    In all the correct examples, despite would be better, stylistically, than in spite of.
     

    zoetsa

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Loob! (Or anyone else .-))

    And what about?:

    Despite having searched the web...
    In spite of having searched the web...
     
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