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Is the word in bold correct? If it is not, which word fits better?

Today, English is used by at least 750 million people. Some estimates have put the total at 1 billion. Despite the total, English is more widely scattered, more widely spoken and written, than any other language has ever been.

I don't think "despite" is the best word. I think something like "regardless of" would be the best match, but these are 2 words, and I am only allowed to use one.

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    I'm not sure what the paragraph is trying to say, and that would affect the word we choose. Is the idea that 750 million is a small number in comparison with a world population of 7 billion? In absolute terms it's clear that there are more speakers of Mandarin in the world, but perhaps the author is focusing more on some concept of geograhic dispersal. There is a somewhat archaic word "Notwithstanding" which I would use rather than "despite" if I must use a single word. If I were the author I would prefer to use make the argument clearer. – djna Apr 1 at 16:40
  • @djna After looking up "notwithstanding", I have to say that this is indeed the best word, despite the fact that it is not such a common word. – MathEnthusiast Apr 1 at 16:50
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    Yes, it's fine. I'd worry about the use of scattered there. :) – Lambie Apr 1 at 16:52
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I'm not sure what the paragraph is trying to say, and that would affect the word we choose. Is the idea that 750 million is a small number in comparison with a world population of 7 billion? In absolute terms it's clear that there are more speakers of Mandarin in the world, but perhaps the author is focusing more on some concept of geographic dispersal.

There is a somewhat archaic word "Notwithstanding" which I would use rather than "despite" if I must use a single word.

If I were the author I would prefer to use make the argument clearer.

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