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elbanditoroso's avatar

"Although" versus "though" - interchangeable?

Asked by elbanditoroso (24561points) December 5th, 2017

I can’t see a shade of difference between them.

When would you use “although” and when would you use “though”?

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20 Answers

Demosthenes's avatar

I think they are mostly interchangeable except when you say something like “I didn’t know that, though”. You couldn’t say “although” in that example.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yeah, you’d have to switch it up to “Although, I didn’t know that.” Maybe that’s the key…where it appears in the sentence.

CWOTUS's avatar

If you look up the two words in Webster, you’ll find that though has two listed meanings, one of which is equivalent to although. That is the definition that means “in spite of the fact that”. However, the first listed definition of though is “however; nevertheless”. That may be only a shade of difference, but it is a difference. The example given for that definition is illustrative: It’s hard work. I enjoy it ~.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

For all intents and purposes, they’re interchangeable. Although, I like the question. I might think of a difference in the coming days, though.

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^^ As I said, it depends on where it’s used in the sentence.

Zissou's avatar

Punctuation tip: in general, do not put a comma right after “although”. Here are the correct forms:

[Independent clause], although [independent clause].

Although [independent clause], [independent clause].

If you want to mimic spoken language in which “although” adds something that is an afterthought, you can do this:

[Sentence.] Although [independent clause].

Although this creates a fragment and should therefore be avoided in formal writing.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Punctuation tip: in American English, periods and commas must always go inside quotation marks.

Back in the early 1970s when Miss Dobbs taught me punctuation, although and though were separated by a comma. I suppose things may have changed.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What @Hawaii_Jake? Conversation goes inside quotation marks, not periods and commas. If it did my comment would look like this: Conversation goes inside quotation marks ”,” not periods and commas”.”

And yours above would look like this: Back in the early 1970s when Miss Dobbs taught me punctuation”,” although and though were separated by a comma”.” I suppose things may have changed”.”

Or did I misunderstand you?

JeSuisRickSpringfield's avatar

@Dutchess_III I’m pretty sure you misunderstood him. He’s talking about commas and periods appearing before the closing quotation mark, not commas and periods being surrounded by quotation marks.

“That’s what I thought,” said Jane.


“That’s what I thought”, said Jane.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Ah, yes. I did misunderstand. And I agree with your teacher. Thanks @JeSuisRickSpringfield. Good to see you!

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@JeSuisRickSpringfield Thanks for clearing that up.

Zissou's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake I’m familiar with that convention, but I prefer logical quotation. The “American” convention you refer to was something that typesetters came up with to make their jobs easier without regard for the sense of what they were typesetting.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I completely agree it’s illogical, but rules are rules.

Dutchess_III's avatar

How is it illogical?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Dutchess_III Good question. Let’s use @Zissou‘s sentence above as a good example.

Punctuation tip: in general, do not put a comma right after “although”.

In that sentence, he placed the period outside the closing quotation mark. This is commonly done in English speaking countries other than the US. It’s mainly done because the quotation marks are not being used to mark spoken words. Instead, they’re being used to place the word although itself in context. Because it’s not a quotation of spoken words, then he wants to end the whole sentence by placing the period outside.

American punctuation rules dictate that the period must fall inside that closing quotation mark regardless of the reason for the mark. It’s just kind of silly to do that. Placing it inside kind of makes the period look like the only thing it’s ending is that word although. Placing it outside makes it look like it’s ending the whole sentence.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Hmm. Interesting thoughts. I just put them inside the quotations by habit. I think. Maybe I don’t in a situation like that! I’ll keep that in mind, though.

Jeruba's avatar

“We’re not late yet. We will be, though, if we don’t hurry a little.”

We would never use “although” in that situation. I think native speakers make subtle distinctions like this routinely and automatically, even if they can’t think of them or cite a rule when confronted with a question about them.

I check things in the dictionary all the time. But although (or “even though”) the definitions are written with great care and precision, and despite the fact that language is my professional domain and I understand parts of speech, I often think that if I didn’t already know the answer, I would have a lot of trouble applying the guidance that comes from the dictionary.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You could say, “We’re not late yet, although we will be if we don’t move our asses.” I use “Although” quite a lot and I just realized it.

Jeruba's avatar

Yes, and that’s the point: two different constructions.

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