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Welcome to this week's writing lesson from

 MyEnglishTeacher.net

That is not what I expected

Lesson Topic: Using Different Words and Phrases for Things You Don't Expect to Happen.

Let's say your friend goes skiing, and she breaks her leg.  She comes to see you and tells you about it.  How do you expect her to feel?  What do you expect her to say?  You would probably expect her to say something like the following: 
I broke my leg, and I feel terrible. 

Would you expect your friend to say the next sentence?

I broke my leg, but I still feel great!

You would not expect your friend to say I feel great after she broke her leg.  The first sentence above is what we call an expected result.  We expect a person to say she feels terrible after breaking a bone.  The second sentence is something we do not expect.  Therefore, it is called an unexpected result.  We don't expect someone to say she feels great after breaking her leg. 

There is one more thing to look at in the second sentence:  the word but.  In the first sentence, the 2 ideas (I broke my leg and I feel terrible) are connected with the word andAnd continues the idea, and it connects two ideas that are related.  It can also be used in sentences that show expected results.  The second sentence has the word butBut is used to show a change of ideas. You probably use the word but all the time in your writing; however, a good writer uses different words and phrases in order to keep his/her writing interesting and varied.   In this lesson, we would like to show you other words and phrases that show unexpected results.  Though but can be used in sentences with unexpected results, but can be used in sentences that do NOT have unexpected results.  For example,

I prefer to spend my free time reading, but my wife likes to take long walks in the park.  

This sentence does not have an unexpected result; but is used just to show a contrast or change in idea.  Hence, be careful: don't use the following words and phrases anywhere you see but

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The first group of words we would like to introduce to you are like but, which means they are attached to the result.  These words are

However, . . .still          Nevertheless,            Nonetheless 

Using the above example, let's see how these words are used:

I broke my leg.  However, I still feel great. 
I broke my leg.  Nevertheless, I feel great. 
I broke my leg.  Nonetheless, I feel great. 

Notice that these words begin new sentences.  There is a period before these 3 words.  If you would like, you can keep the sentences together by using a semicolon (;) instead of a period before them.  For example,

I broke my leg; however, I still feel great. 
To learn more about semicolons, go to our previous lesson on this subject.

The next group of words are all attached to the cause.  These words and phrases are 

Even though          Although          Though
Despite the fact that       In spite of the fact that

Again, using the above sentence, the following is how they would normally be used.

Although I broke my leg, I feel great.
Even though I broke my leg, I feel great.
Though I broke my leg, I feel great.
I feel great despite the fact that I broke my leg.
I feel great in spite of the fact that I broke my leg.

The above examples show normal ways these words are used.  Notice that the parts of the sentences that contain despite the fact that and in spite of the fact that are usually after the main part of the sentence (the main clause).

Lastly, we would like to introduce the following:

despite                    in spite of

Take a look at these 2 sentences.

I feel great despite I broke my leg.
I feel great in spite of I broke my leg.
Are these sentences correct?  There is a sense of unexpected result.  The result is before the cause.  However, these sentences are incorrect.  Why?  Despite and in spite of are attached to nouns--NOT sentences.  Look at the sentences with despite the fact that and in spite of the fact that:
I feel great despite the fact that I broke my leg.
I feel great in spite of the fact that I broke my leg.

Do you see what comes after these phrases?  I broke my leg is a sentence and a complete idea.  However, despite and in spite of are attached to nouns.  Those nouns can have numbers and adjectives, and they can be gerunds (-ing ending words that are nouns but look like verbs, such as going).

In order to fix these sentences, make the part that says I broke my leg into a noun.  Thus, we can write

I feel great despite my broken leg.
I feel great in spite of my broken leg.

Or,

I feel great despite breaking my leg.
I feel great in spite of breaking my leg.

Now, these sentences are correct.  My broken leg is just a noun with adjectives.  Breaking (my leg) is a gerund

Let's take a look at one more example with despite and in spite of:

Jordan went fishing in spite of it was snowing.
I feel so sad despite I won 1,000,000.

Look at what is attached to despite and in spite of: sentences.  How can we fix these sentences?  Just use nouns or gerunds.

Jordan went fishing in spite of the heavy snow.
I feel so sad despite winning 1,000,000.

In the first sentence, the heavy snow is a noun with an adjective (heavy) and an article (the).  In the second sentence, winning is a noun; it is called a gerund.

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Quiz time

Directions: For each of the following, put the 2 sentences together by using the word or phrase in the parentheses.  You may have to change some words.

1.  I fell down the stairs.  I am okay. 
(however)

2. 
 In the early 1900's, the buffalo were almost extinct.  The buffalo population is now thriving.  (in spite of)

3.  Robin worked 14 hours a day for that company.  She was fired. 
(nevertheless)

4.  The king traveled all over the country greeting everyone he met.  The citizens hated him. 
(despite the fact that)

5.  I worked on my car all day.  It doesn't run. 
(even though)

6.  Beth studied French since she was in high school.  She can't speak a word of French.  (although)

7.  Johnny sent his girlfriend a dozen roses and a diamond ring.  She doesn't want to marry him.  (nonetheless)

8.  Bobby and Susan spent the whole summer traveling in Europe.  They didn't spend a lot of money. (in spite of the fact that)

9.  I jumped out of an airplane, and the parachute didn't open.  I didn't even break a bone.  (though)

10.  I cut my finger very deeply.  I didn't need any stitches.  (despite)

 

1.  I fell down the stairs.  However, I am okay.

     I fell down the stairs; however, I am okay.

2. 
 In spite of the buffalo being almost extinct in the early 1900's, its population is now thriving

*The buffalo being almost extinct in the early 1900s is not a complete sentence.  

3.  Robin worked 14 hours a day for that company. 
Nevertheless, she was fired.

     Robin worked 14 hours a day for that company; nevertheless, she was fired.

4. 
Despite the fact that the king traveled all over the country greeting everyone he met, the citizens hated him. 

5.  Even though I worked on my car all day, it doesn't run.

6.  Although Beth studied French since she was in high school, she can't speak a word of French. 

7.  Johnny sent his girlfriend a dozen roses and a diamond ring.  Nevertheless, she doesn't want to marry him. 

      Johnny sent his girlfriend a dozen roses and a diamond ring; nevertheless, she doesn't want to marry him. 

8.  In spite of the fact that Bobby and Susan spent the whole summer traveling in Europe, they didn't spend a lot of money. 

9.  Though I jumped out of an airplane, and the parachute didn't open; I didn't even break a bone.  

10.  Despite cutting my finger very deeply, I didn't need any stitches.  

*Cutting is a gerund here. 

Are you going to take the TOEFL?  Visit our new TOEFL Help Center.  Go to http://www.MyEnglishTeacher.net/TOEFL.  

 

  Rules to Remember!

1 Though but can be used in sentences with unexpected results, but can be used in sentences that do NOT have unexpected results.  For example,

I prefer to spend my free time reading, but my wife likes to take long walks in the park.  

Hence, be careful: don't use the above words and phrases anywhere you see but. The words and phrases you learned in this lesson are NOT always interchangeable with but.  

2 Commas come after some of the above words.  They should be used to follow proper grammar rules.
3 When using the above words and phrases, sometimes the cause is before the result, and at other times it is the opposite.  With most of the words above, the cause and result can be switched in conversational English.  For example,

Even though I broke my leg, I feel great.

or

I feel great even though I broke my leg.

The parts of the sentence can be switched.  Notice, however, even though is always with the cause.  Here are other words and phrases that can be switched:

even though

although

though

despite the fact that

in spite of the fact that

despite

in spite of 

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