Often, certain things happen despite the fact that other things happen or fail to happen. No matter what the circumstance, such things will occur. Maybe it is the nature of life that, no matter what factors are constant, the element of surprise will always be there.
That is why words such as although, though and even though are usually part of our conversations. Whether in speech or writing, we all use them. Can we thus dedicate today’s lesson to sharpening the way we handle them?
In many contexts, although, though and even though are conjunctions. This means they fall among the part of speech that joins a part of a sentence to another. Often, they are used to connect clauses or words within a sentence:
Although the President is not around, governance is going on as usual.
Though the President is not around, governance is going on as usual.
Even though the President is not around, governance is going on as usual.
In the three sentences, the conjunctions help us to establish what looks like the contrast or the surprise element – the government business is progressing in the absence of the President. While the first part of each sentence is the subordinate clause (which cannot stand alone), the second – governance is going on as usual – is the main clause, because it has a complete thought and can stand on its own. Also, note that the order of the sentences can be reversed, with the although-clauses coming first:
Governance is going on as usual although the President is not around.
Governance is going on though the President is not around.
Governance is going on even though the President is not around.
Although, though are interchangeable
As can be observed from the examples above, the three conjunctions are interchangeable. This means it is a matter of choice, although another point will be raised on this later. It is at times argued that though is less formal than although just as it is sometimes argued that it cannot begin a sentence. But experts have largely been liberal about this reservation and no one is hanged for using it accordingly:
Though I will not stay long, I will be there by 12 pm.
I will be there by 12 pm though I will not stay long.
Some people also fear that there is tautology in even though. They ask why should they be used together. But the expression is acceptable in English as it is more of a matter of emphasis than anything else:
I will call you though you ought to know when it is time. (Correct)
I will call you even though you ought to know when it is time. (Correct)
No comma after although
One of the points I want you to take away from today’s lesson is that you do not need a comma immediately after although, though and even though. The only comma you need is the one that separates the entire subordinate clause from the main clause. Well, you can also have it if you are listing some elements, as I did in this next sentence. So, note that although, though are interchangeable. Unfortunately, some people injure the statement with the needless comma:
Although, I don’t like eba, I was forced to take it daily. (Wrong)
Although I don’t like eba, I was forced to take it daily. (Correct)
Even though, he is brilliant his parents don’t treat him well. (Wrong)
Even though he is brilliant, his parents don’t treat him well. (Correct)
Don’t use but with although
Many people use but with although, though and even though. This is wrong; it is the real tautology we are talking about. Both categories of words are conjunctions and can express the contrast we are emphasising. So, using them together amounts to an overkill:
Although she does not like me, but she attended my wedding. (Wrong)
Although she does not like me, she attended my wedding. (Correct)
She does not like me but she attended my wedding. (Correct)
Though many of them promised to make life good for us but they are behaving as if they never said so. (Wrong)
Though many of them promised to make life good for us, they are behaving as if they never said so. (Correct)
Although, yet and still
Logically, yet and still should have the same consideration as but as far as although etc. are concerned. The emphasis they are supposed to be indicating is already borne by the words. As a result, many experts do not encourage us to use yet and still with although, though and even though. In pure grammatical terms, however, the rule does not kick against it. Yet, my advice is that you don’t need to combine still and yet with the conjunctions. I don’t.
Though can end a sentence
A major advantage that though has over although is that while both can start a sentence and can be used in the middle of it, though can appear at the end but although cannot:
It is a waste of time, although. (Wrong)
It is a waste of time, though. (Correct)
His father became angry when she failed, although. (Wrong)
His father became angry when she failed, though. (Correct)
In the statements above, note that we are no more dealing with a complex sentence. We only have a simple sentence made up of just a main verb. This suggests that the character and function of though have changed compared to when it functions as a conjunction. It can also be used as an adverb. That is why although has no place in the structures. For although to be relevant, there normally has to be two clauses – one subordinate, the other main. Indeed, though can be moved into the middle of the simple sentence while although cannot:
Last year, though, the town was deserted. (Correct)
Last year, although, the town was deserted. (Wrong)
Well, I want you to also get the pronunciation of although right, especially as it concerns the second syllable, though. The though is not to be pronounced as the -dow in window or shadow. The phonological consonant you have in (al)though is not d as in dose, dove or made. Instead, we have /ð/ , as in this, that, within and without. For more on this, contact the phonology expert nearest to you.
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