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Though and although are so similar that they are often interchangeable. In most of the places that you can use one, you can use the other.
Though and Although, Almost the Same
Both though and although mean “in spite of the fact that,” or “even if.”
However, these words do have two minor differences, which I’ll talk about later.
First, let’s see how they’re used to mean the same thing.
Using Though and Although Interchangeably — With Examples
Grammar nerds — like me —call though and although subordinating conjunctions. This means that they introduce a subordinate clause, a little phrase that needs a main clause to make it complete.
An example where though and although are interchangeable:
Eli walks to school, although the route is uphill.
Eli walks to school, though the route is uphill.
The apples, although small, were delectable.
The apples, though small, were delectable.
|Grammarian Gripe: Defining Words Is Hard, Though|
|Attempting to define words, especially the smallest, simplest words, befuddles even the smartest linguists. We often intuit a word’s meaning better than we can describe it. |
I noticed this phenomenon as I was doing research for this article.
If you were looking for a definition of the word though, and some information on its history and its usage, you might look (as I did) to the Oxford English Dictionary, the premier authority on English etymology.
The “O-E-D,” as we call it, has this to say about though:
“An adversative particle expressing that relation of two opposed facts or circumstances (actual or hypothetical) in which the one is inadequate to prevent the other, and therefore both concur, contrary to what might be expected.”
Now, look. I have a Master’s degree — in Shakespeare — and boy, you practically need one to parse this out.
Sometimes, our intuition is better than our intellect. Children learn their first language largely by intuition. This natural ability to absorb language is why examples often illuminate meanings of words in a way that definitions can’t — we intuit their rules and emulate them naturally.
Slightly Different, Though
Though they are quite similar, these words do have a couple of differences.
- The meaning is the same, but although is more formal. The first distinction is about its formality, not its definition. Some writers and editors consider although slightly more formal, so they prefer although in academic and formal writing, and keep though for conversational writing and speech.
- Another meaning of though. Secondly, though has another meaning: Especially in everyday conversation, we’ll use though as an adverb, similar to however or nevertheless, when we want to contrast with something. The examples below will make this clear.
Examples of Though as an Adverb
In the examples below, we can see how though serves a similar function to however.
“I don’t like tomatoes — I love ketchup, though!”
“Vic never liked science fiction. Yesterday, though, Dune changed their mind.”
Though and Although are Similar — You Got This, Though
Though and although are pretty interchangeable. If you’re writing for a formal situation, opt for although instead of though. And remember: sometimes though is used like however.
I hope the distinction between though and although isn’t too tricky. If you’re struggling, though, you’ve got this handy guide.
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