Although, Though, Despite, and While on GMAT

This short video explains the usage of although, though, despite, and while on the GMAT sentence correction questions.

Although, Though, Despite, and While on GMAT

Idioms are a particularly challenging part of the GMAT syllabus. Idioms are certain phrases that must be used in particular ways and what makes them so challenging is that there is not much logical reasoning behind them; they are simply arbitrary rules of grammar that you must memorize to identify incorrect sentence correction answer choices on the GMAT. In this short article, we will cover the correct usage of the idioms, although, despite, and though.

Although and Though

The words "although" and "though" are used to show a negative, positive contrast, meaning that they are used in sentences where a negative event is described before a related positive event. Let us illustrate this concept through the following example.

Example 1 - Although the team did not win, it was applauded.
In this sentence, a negative event, the team not winning, is first mentioned and then a positive event, the team was applauded, is given as a point of contrast.

Example 2 - Though the team lost the match, it won hearts.
Through this similar example, we can see that the word "though" functions in much the same way. Again, a negative event is mentioned first, the team losing the match, and then something positive is mentioned as a contrast.


In a similar manner to "although" and "though", the word "despite" is used to highlight contrast but it is used to show positive, negative contrast. We shall illustrate this concept through the following example:

Example 3 - Despite winning, the team failed to win respect.
In Example 3, you can see that a positive event is mentioned first, winning, and then followed by a negative event, failing to win respect.


The word "while" is also used to show a contrast but in its case, the positive or negative nature of the events does not matter; the word "while" is used to show a contrast between events that take place in the same time frame and there is no other qualifying factor for its use. Please consider the following example:

Example 4 - While Jack played, Henna studied.
In Example 4, the two events being contrasted are Jack playing and Henna studying. These two events are both described neutrally, neither in a positive nor negative light but both are stated to take place at the same time.

This article has deliberately been kept brief; for a more elaborate explanation, please refer to Experts' Global's Stage One Sentence Correction videos.

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