Despite, in spite of

Here is how to use despite and in spite of correctly.

Despite, in spite of
Despite and in spite of have the same meaning and are prepositions.

We use despite / in spite of to express that something is unexpected or surprising.
Despite the heavy traffic, we got there on time.

Despite being much older than the others, he won the race.
Despite and in spite of can be followed by a noun or verb.

They can also be followed by the fact that, which is less formal.

We use in spite of / despite:
+ noun
+ verb + -ing
+ the fact that
.
In spite of / despite the heavy traffic, we got there on time. (+ noun)
In spite of / despite the traffic being heavy, we got there on time. (+ verb -ing)

In spite of / despite the fact that he is much older than the others, he won the race.
In spite of / despite being much older than the others, he won the race.
Despite is more common than in spite of in formal written English.

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See also

Although, even though vs. despite

Practice exercise 1 (upper-intermediate) 
Despite, in spite of, although, even though ex.1

Practice exercise 2 (upper-intermediate)
Despite, in spite of, although, even though ex. 2