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Despite the figure for Switzerland rising twofold to 6 million in 2004, in that year, it was much lower than the figure for the UK.

Despite the figure for Switzerland having risen twofold to 6 million by 2004, in that year, it was much lower than the figure for the UK.

Can I put a noun immediately after despite, as I did in those sentences? Every time I see "despite" in a sentence, it's followed by a continuous verb -- for example:

Despite having risen twofold to 6 million by 2004, the figure for Switzerland was much lower than the figure for the UK.

I want to know whether it is grammatical to place a noun immediately after "despite." So, is it correct to say "despite him going to school everyday, my father thinks he is an unserious student."

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    "Despite the rain, we enjoyed the festival" British Council Learn English Aug 29, 2022 at 20:21
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    What is the source of your exampled, please? Aug 30, 2022 at 0:34
  • @DavidSiegel - the source of the example is provided by the (underlined) link. Aug 30, 2022 at 5:48
  • @Michael Harvey Source attributions should be ewdited into the question, not left in a comment, but that is much better than no attribution at all. Aug 30, 2022 at 5:55
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    @Michael Harvey I think we has a slight misunderstanding. You very correctly gave the source of the example in your comment. I was looking for the source of the examples in the question. Aug 30, 2022 at 6:08

1 Answer 1

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Yes, it's grammatical to do this. Let's put other nouns after "despite" and judge whether the sentences sound grammatical or not:

Despite the boys going to school every day, they didn't learn anything. "the boys" is a noun phrase following "despite" and this sounds correct.

Despite the number of trees in our yard, there wasn't a lot of shade. "the number of trees" is a noun phrase following "despite" and this sounds correct.

Despite the little time we have left, we can get the work done. "the little time we have left" is a noun phrase following "despite" and this sounds correct.

Bear in mind that these are "noun phrases" and not just single nouns. In your sentence above, you also had a noun phrase.

The reason for this is that "despite" is a preposition, and prepositions are always followed by nouns and noun phrases.

However, you will find it much easier to work with such sentence if you replace "despite + noun phrase" with the construction "although + noun + verb."

Examples:

Although the figure for Switzerland rose twofold to 6 million in 2004...

Although he goes to school everyday...

This construction is much easier to handle, and is more common in everyday usage of English.

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  • "Despite the boys going to school" requires an apostrophe, either before or after the s in boys - depending on whether it is one boy of more than one. Clearly your example is plural and should have the apostrophe after the s.
    – WS2
    Aug 30, 2022 at 6:28

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