Question from the Peanut Gallery today:
Where do we use “in spite of” and “despite”?
The short answer is: You can use them interchangeably to mean the opposite of “because.” They are synonyms used as propositions to show a contrast with what one might expect.
Production from Well 84 did not increase despite perforating the new zone.
Production from Well 84 did not increase in spite of perforating the new zone.
Sometimes the phrase “in spite of the fact that” is used in front of the contrary clause. Just be sure not to use “in despite” or “despite of,” as these are not correct.
Both terms stem from the word “spite,” which means contempt, defiance, or despising. My mom often used the phrase “cut off your nose to spite your face” when I stubbornly refused to do something that would benefit me.
Fortunately I grew out of that, which is a good thing, because I need my nose to hold my eyeglasses up.