2

According to my Cambridge preparation Test:

WRONG: I was lucky enough to fulfill an ambition and visit the Galapagos Islands two years ago. DESPITE no substitute for a visit, this superbly attractive book provides a fascinating commentary and scientific background to the Galapagos experience.

RIGHT: I was lucky enough to fulfill an ambition and visit the Galapagos Islands two years ago. WHILE no substitute for a visit, this superbly attractive book provides a fascinating commentary and scientific background to the Galapagos experience.

I read that DESPITE is a preposition, but I don't understand why it's not suitable for this sentence.

2
  • 5
    You would have to say 'Despite the fact that it is no substitute for a visit'. Apr 5 '21 at 15:43
  • 4
    You could also say "Despite being no substitute for a visit..."
    – Showsni
    Apr 5 '21 at 15:56
3

The problem isn't grammatical. The word "despite" has the wrong connotation here.

de•spite, preposition: despite

without being affected by; in spite of.
"he remains a great leader despite age and infirmity"

(https://languages.oup.com/google-dictionary-en/)

The book is not "in spite of" no substitute for a visit.

In this sentence "while" or "although" conveys the meaning.

2
  • 6
    The problem isn't the connotation; it would be appropriate to say "Despite being no substitute for a visit".
    – Milo P
    Apr 6 '21 at 0:45
  • 1
    @MiloP You're right. I will fix the answer (but not tonight). Apr 6 '21 at 1:55
3

Try rewriting the sentences slightly to test the two prepositions:

While this superbly attractive book is no substitute for a visit, it provides...

and

Despite (in spite of) this superbly attractive book is no substitute for a visit, it provides...

It should be obvious immediately that despite doesn't work here. Other possibilities that would work are the subordinating conjunctions, though and although.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .