Unlike many of our Timely Tips, this tip isn’t to tell you how these words are different and how to use them correctly. Instead, I am here to tell you that these words mean the same thing.
Surprised? So was I! I’ve always assumed that there were occasions, grammatically speaking or otherwise, when you needed to use one of these terms over the other—but it’s just not true.
‘Despite’ and ‘in spite of’ mean the same thing:
I had difficulty speaking that language, in spite of all my years of study.
I had difficulty speaking that language, despite all my years of study.
It’s up to you to decide—will you use one word or three?