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test question

Which of the answers seems most natural – although being or despite being?

4. Chen Wei Lin, or “tom60229,” was one of the participants in the 2017 Hearthstone World Championship. He wasn't as popular as the other participants. ________ being an unknown underdog, he won the championship.

a) Instead of
b) Despite
c) Although
d) Because of

This seems like a problem of TEPS, a TOEFL-like test of South Korea. This test says that "Choose the best answer for the blank", so there can be two grammatically correct answers for one problem although there is only one answer considered right.

In this case (Problem 4), both (b) and (c) seem OK to me. They have a similar meaning, (c) looks grammatically OK and appears to be good if we consider it a perfect participle.

Is this problem asking which is more 'natural'? If so, which of them is most natural? If not, what am I missing here?

I googled 'although being' and 'despite being', and I found both of them, so googling didn't help me.

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  • The answer is easy if you understand how to use "although" and "despite". What do you know about these two words?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 10, 2018 at 12:21

1 Answer 1

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While "although" and "despite" have similar meanings, there is a difference in how we use them.

Although is a subordinating conjunction and it is followed by a clause (subject-verb structure).

Although he worked very hard, he didn’t manage to pass the exam.

Despite is a preposition and it is followed by a noun or a pronoun.

Despite the pain in his leg he completed the marathon.

In your sentence, "being" is a gerund which is the noun form of the verb "to be", So you should use despite.

Despite being an unknown underdog, he won the championship.

The answer would be "although" if your sentence were like this:

Although he was an unknown underdog, he won the championship.

If you remember the meaning of "although" as "despite the fact that", it will be easier for you to choose the correct answer.

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