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Though or although?

26 Mar

Here is another pair of words with an identical meaning but subtly different uses. There’s a style warning at the end, too. We like a style warning, don’t we!

Both though and although mean” in spite of the fact that”, “however”, “but”. “Although he’s messy at home, he’s very organised at work”, “She was a plainly dressed woman, though with a flamboyant taste in hats”, “The dogs, though fierce in appearance, were friendly”.

Although is the more formal of the two. I prefer it to though at the beginning of a sentence, which is the traditional way of doing things. “Though he was firm, he was fair” just looks better to me as, “Although he was firm, he was fair”.

You cannot replace though with although in adverbial uses – “it was nice of him to write, though”. or with as or even – “she doesn’t look as though she’s reading that book, even though she says she is”

And finally, you shouldn’t start a sentence with either of these if it’s actually acting as a linking word between the previous sentence and this one: “He was firm. Although he was fair too”, or if it’s making a link between two concepts in the upcoming phrases: “Although he was firm. He was fair too”. Make sure both of the linked ideas are in the same sentence.

You can find more troublesome pairs here and the index to them all so far is here.

 
 

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2 responses to “Though or although?

  1. Rim

    December 24, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Interesting!
    For long I have been changing those thoughs at the beginning of sentences without knowing why. I would just read it out loud and I would not place it anywhere.
    But I am curious about your proscription of ‘though’ replacing adverbial clauses. I found it rather common among native speakers…

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    • Liz at Libro

      December 24, 2013 at 4:27 pm

      That’s not quite what I said – in fact my example uses though. But you can’t replace it with although in those clauses. Hope that makes it clearer!

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