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Concessive Clauses

A concessive clause is a subordinate clause used to concede a given point in an argument. A concessive clause is a clause which expresses an idea that suggests the opposite of the main part of the sentence.

The principle concessive conjunctions introducing a concessive clause are: though, although, even though, while, and even if.




Examples:
  1. Despite /in spite of being tired, he walked to the station. 
  2. Despite (in spite of) all his money, he refused to buy a new car.
  3. Although the film was a bit long, it was quite enjoyable.
  4. Although the salary wasn't great, she took the job.

Concessive conjunctions are widely used in academic writing so that the reader can clearly see which of the pieces of information or evidence the writer sees as:
  •     carrying more weight.
  •     being more relevant to arguments or topic.
  •     being worth further development.

 

Definition of Concessive Clause

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Concessive clauses are also called contrast clauses. They usually denote some obstacle which does not prevent the realization of the action expressed in the main clause. A concessive clause is a clause which begins with "although" or "even though" and which expresses an idea that suggests the opposite of the main part of the sentence. The sentence "Although he's quiet, he's not shy" begins with a concessive clause- "Although he's quiet” which has an opposite meaning of - "he's not shy" which is the main part of the sentence.

For example:
  • Although it was very cold and rainy (contrast clause expressing an obstacle), we enjoyed our trip to Paris (main clause).
In the above example, the idea expressed in the first clause contrasts with the idea expressed in the second clause.

NOTE: “In spite of" , " despite" have similar meaning to "although" or "even though". BUT they don't introduce clauses. They have different syntax. They are followed by nouns or gerunds (verb+ing.) They don't introduce a clause (subject + verb.)

The first word that introduces the contrast clause in the above example is called a subordinator.
Let us learn how to use some concessive subordinators which can be confidently used in contrast clauses on a regular basis: although, even though, though, while, and whereas. 


Definition of concession

a : the act or an instance of conceding (as by granting something as a right, accepting something as true, or acknowledging defeat) b : the admitting of a point claimed in argument.

If the conjunction word is any of these THOUGH, ALTHOUGH, EVEN THOUGH and EVEN IF, that clause is called Concessive Clause. 

Despite / in spite of

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We can use the prepositions in spite of and despite to talk about contrast. After them you always have to use a noun, a pronoun, or an ing form of a verb (gerund). Despite and in spite of do not introduce a concessive clause. They are rather followed by a noun or a verb+ing form.

  • We use IN SPITE OF before a noun or before the ing–form of a verb. 
    • Priyanka wanted to report on the war in spite of the danger.
    • Kennedy went on working in spite of his feeling unwell. 
  • We use DESPITE in exactly the same way as in spite of and with the same meaning. 
    • She wanted to go despite the danger.
    • He went on working despite feeling unwell.

For example:
  1. In spite of the rain (noun), we started to play basketball.
  2. Despite the rain (noun), we started to play basketball.
  3. In spite of having (gerund) a migraine headache, I decided to go out on a date.
  4. Despite having (gerund) a migraine headache, I decided to go out on a date.

In spite of and despite are interchangeable. However, despite is slightly more formal than in spite of.

We can use IN SPITE OF THE FACT (that) in the same way as ALTHOUGH. 
  1. I’m no better in spite of taking the pills.
  2. John wants to fly in spite of her fear / in spite of his feeling afraid.
  3. I’m no better, although I’ve taken the pills. / I’m no better in spite of the fact that I’ve taken the pills. 
  4. John wants to fly, although she feels afraid.

Although

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Although, though and even though are subordinators used in contrast clauses. They are also called subordinating conjunctions. They all introduce an idea which contrasts with the main clause. Although and though both mean 'in spite of something'. They are subordinating conjunctions. This means that the clause which they introduce is a subordinate clause, which needs a main clause to make it complete: ... [subordinate clause]Though it was rainy, [main clause] we put on our jackets and went for a walk.

For example:
  • Although Tanya was half asleep, she remembered to set the house alarm.
  • Though Tanya was half asleep, she remembered to set the house alarm.
  • Even though Tanya was half asleep, she remembered to set the house alarm.

The three subordinators have the same meaning; however, though is more common in informal speech than although. Even though is a stonger form of although and though and is definitely more emphatic than although. Let's sum it up: If you want to sound very informal, use though instead of although. If you want to sound very emphatic (concession is made more emphatic by using the modifier even), then you can use even though instead of although and though. The three subordinators always come before the subject and verb in a clause. The although/though/even though clause can come before or after the main clause. One more example:
  • I didn't get the job as an actor although I had all the necessary qualifications.

"Although", and "even though" introduce concessive clauses.
 Although /even though   subject   verb 


BUT and ALTHOUGH :

We can join two sentences with BUT. 
  1. The café was crowded, but we found a table.
  2. Benjamin has a car, but he doesn’t often drive it. 

We can also use ALTHOUGH. 
  1. Although the café was crowded, we found a table.
  2. Although Benjamin has a car, he doesn’t often drive it. 

The clause with ALTHOUGH can come at the end. 
  1. We found a table, although the café was crowded. 

Though is not only a conjunction; if placed at the end of a sentence, it functions as an adverb. In spoken English, we can use though at the end of a sentence to show contrast.

For example:
  • The cottage isn't very nice. I like the garden though. (= but I like the garden)
  • I see my neighbors every day. I've never spoken to them though. (= but I've never spoken to them)
  • I liked the sweater. I decided not to buy it, though
  • Even though is stronger, more emphatic than although.
  • Lazar looked quite fresh, even though he had been playing squash.
  • Even though you dislike Johns, you should try to be nice to her.

While and Whereas

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We can use while or whereas, which are subordinating conjunctions, to say that something in the subordinate clause contrasts with something in the main clause. The two subordinators are interchangeable and show major contrast.

For example:
  • I am quiet and shy (main clause), while my sister is lively and talkative.
  • I am quiet and shy (main clause), whereas my sister is lively and talkative.

The above two sentences express a contrast between two ideas. As you can see, while is not only used to express time; it can also express contrast.The while/whereas clause can come before or after the main clause. One more example:
  • While/Whereas my brother is strong and tall, I am short and weak.

While/Whereas don't denote some obstacle which does not prevent the realization of the action in the main clause, but are used to show how one person, thing, or place is different from another.

Examples of Concessive Clause

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Here we will look at the examples of Concessive clauses, sometimes a sentence may have both answers decide which sentence expresses more strongly - concession (although / while), or contrast (whereas / while) etc.

    • I think his name is John, although I'm not completely sure about that.
    • While I am willing to help, I do not have much time available.
    • I'm going to the party even though (even if) it rains.
    • In spite of the fact that she was pregnant, she kept working till the last moment.
    • Despite the fact that it was raining, we went for a walk anyway.
    • Despite (in spite of) having enough money, he refused to buy a new car.
    • The cottage isn't very nice. I like the garden though.
    • The cottage isn't very nice. However, I like the garden.
    • Even though I knew I shouldn't, I had another of her delicious cakes
    • Despite telling him three times, he still forgot.
    • In spite of all his money, he refused to buy a new car.
    • Although/though it had started to rain, we decided to go for a walk.
    • He said he'd be on time although/though I doubt it, knowing him.
    • He refused to buy a new car despite all his money.
    • Although Mary usually prefers coffee, today she's drinking tea.
    • Mary's drinking tea today although she usually prefers coffee.
    • Despite /in spite of the rain, he walked to the station.
    • Although Sally originally wanted to become a lawyer, she finally decided on a career in medicine.
    • Although the film was quite enjoyable, it was a bit long.
    • That's what she says, but what she really thinks, though, I have no idea.
    • We'd better be going. - We've still got plenty of time, though.
    • In spite of the bad weather, we had a great time.
    • Despite the rain, it was a great afternoon.
    • We had a great time though it rained a bit.
    • She passed her test easily despite not doing much revision.
    • Despite coming first, she felt she could have done better.
    • Although of coming first isn't everything, it sure helps.
    • I managed to get tickets although the queue was rather long.
    • I didn't manage to get very good seats though.

Exercise of Concessive Clause

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Do the exercises on concessive clauses and choose the right answer:

  1.  ______________ she is beautiful, everybody hates her.
  2. The children slept deeply ______________   the noise.
  3. ______________  earning a low salary, Sarah helped her parents
  4. Jennifer rarely sees Alan  ______________  they are neighbors.
  5. Katie did not do well in the exam ______________   working very hard.
  6.  ______________ I was very hungry, I couldn't eat.
  7.  ______________ the difficulty, they managed to solve the math problem.
  8. Liza never talked to him  ______________  she loved him.
  9.  ______________ it was cold, Mariam didn't put on her coat.
  10.  Clare did the work  ______________  being ill.
  11. ______________  the weather was bad, we had a good time.
  12. ______________  all our hard work, a lot of things went wrong.
  13. ______________  we had planned everything carefully, a lot of things went wrong.
  14. I went to hospital  ______________  I was feeling very ill.
  15. I went to work the next day ______________   I was still feeling ill.
  16. She accepted the job  ______________  the low salary.
  17. She refused the job  ______________  the low salary.
  18. I managed to sleep  ______________  the hotel was noisy.
  19. I could not get to sleep   ______________ the noise.
  20. He runs fast  ______________  his old age.
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