2

S1: The same is true for Barack Obama, the man who worked tirelessly in government before becoming President of the USA, all despite racial discrimination.

S2: The same is true for Barack Obama, the man who worked tirelessly in government before becoming President of the USA, despite all racial discrimination.

S3:The same is true for Barack Obama, the man who worked tirelessly in government before becoming President of the USA. Despite all that, racial discrimination.

Question 1:Are the three sentences above the same in meaning? Question 2: What does the word 'all' in the first sentence represents?

My conclusion: The first two sentence seems to express the same idea that the racial discrimination can not stop Obama from working tirelessly. But for the 3rd sentence, I can't tell whether it has the same meaning or not as the first two sentences.

  • 2
    Where did you see the third one? – Cardinal Aug 18 '16 at 11:17
  • I write my self as I want to know how to use despite all that – Henry Wang Aug 18 '16 at 11:21
  • I can understand the second one, but not sure the ‘all’ in first sentence. – Henry Wang Aug 18 '16 at 11:30
  • I meant the last one has a serious problem. This does not endorse correctness of the first sentence. In my opinion, the best sentence is the second one. – Cardinal Aug 18 '16 at 11:32
1

With "all despite", all refers back to earlier things:

He ran through the parking lot, jumped the fence, and hopped a train, all despite having a broken leg.

"all" refers back to all of the things he did: ran... jumped... hopped.

With "despite all", all introduces something:

He slept soundly, despite all the noise from the revelers in the street.

"all" here is a part of the phrase about the noise.

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2

All despite here means he did all of these things (whatever things we're talking about) despite facing racial discrimination. Despite all is a little ungrammatical here, I read it as despite [all racial discrimination], which doesn't really make sense in context. In a context where you're referring to all [whatever] it would work just fine, but again the all belongs to the latter part, not despite.

The last example is not grammatical. Despite all that can be used as a parenthetical phrase, e.g. "Obama faced challenges X, Y, and Z. Despite all that, he reached his goal of becoming president." "Racial discrimination" is not a complete sentence, and adding despite all that does not change that. S3 consists of two sentences. I'll note that the first sentence is valid on its own. It's only the second that's a problem.

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  • 1
    Good answer. To clarify, S1 is talking about "all Obama's (already mentioned) accomplishments", compared to S2 talking about "all the racial discrimination he has faced", which is entirely different. If you actually want to emphasize the second, it would make more sense to mention specific examples of racial discrimination he has overcome (but that would be an entirely different sentence). S3 is not grammatical as written. – BradC Aug 18 '16 at 16:09
  • If I rewrite the S3 like this: 'some specific examples of racial discrimination he has overcome. Despite all that, Obama still worked tirelessly in government before becoming President of the USA.' Is this sentence structure make sense? – Henry Wang Aug 19 '16 at 0:59
  • @HenryWang Yes, I think it does make sense like that. – Tim S. Aug 19 '16 at 11:52

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