Day 13: How to use concession (‘Although/even though’)

Watch this video if you need more practice with concession (‘Although/though/even though’) ‘However’, ‘but’ and ‘whereas’.

Before you do this lesson

Test yourself. How can you link these 2 sentences?

  1. He’s well qualified.
  2. He can’t find a job.
Some options

Check the punctuation carefully in these 3 sentences:

  • He’s well-qualified but he can’t find a job.
  • He’s well-qualified. However, he can’t find a job.
  • Although he’s well-qualified, he can’t find a job.

What is ‘concession’?

In this lesson you’ll learn how to use ‘concession’ with linkers like ‘although’ and ‘though’.

‘Although’ introduces a statement that makes the next statement seem surprising or unlikely.

Look at the sentences below:

  • Although he’s very rich, he lives a very simple life. (you might expect him to have an extravagant lifestyle)
  • Even thoughshe’s in her 60s,she can run really fast. (you might expect a 60-year old to run slowly)

These are examples of concession – sentences that begin with ‘although’ or ‘even though’ followed by an idea that suggests the opposite of what you expect from the main part of the sentence.

Can you think of an example about yourself?

e.g. Although I’m not a digital native, I’m quite good at using computers.

Although + [subject-verb-object], I [subject+verb+object].

How to use ‘although’ for concession in IELTS writing

Look at how Yogita shows concession in the Task 2 Conclusion below (IELTS Writing Task 2 Question: whose responsibility is it to transport children to school?):

In conclusion, although there may be additional costs involved in providing a school bus service, I think that this option has a number of benefits for both parents and children.

You can show concession in Task 2:

  • When you want to say that the other side may be right or has a good point (but you don’t agree with it!).

or 

  • When you see an advantage, but you think overall it’s negative.

or

  • When you see a disadvantage, but you think overall it’s positive.

It is an advanced and sophisticated way to sum up an essay and to show the examiner that you have considered both sides of the argument (even if you disagree with one of them) and that you are aware of the issues.

Other words with similar meanings but different grammar

Many ‘contrast’ words can be used instead of ‘although’, but they all have different grammar patterns.

This often causes mistakes.

For example

  • Despite the significant costs of school transport, I believe it is the best option.
  • School transport is expensive. However, I am of the opinion that it is the best option for both families and the environment.
  • Transporting children to school by bus is undoubtedly a huge financial cost. Nevertheless, I would argue that it is by far the most environmentally-friendly option.

Can we replace ‘although’ and ‘but’ with ‘whereas’?

Look at what happens when you replace ‘but’ and ‘however’ with ‘whereas’.

Are these sentences correct?

  • He’s well-qualified, whereas he can’t find a job.
  • Whereas he’s well-qualified, he can’t find a job.

Click here for the answer

These sentences are NOT correct.

We cannot replace ‘but’ and ‘although’ with ‘whereas’. 

It is not the same type of linking word.

When to use ‘whereas’

He’s well-qualified, whereas I don’t have any qualifications.

He couldn’t find a job, whereas I found one easily.

  • The topic is the same but what is true of one is not true of the other
  • Grammar: ‘whereas’ is always followed by a S-V-O phrase.

It is ok to start with ‘whereas’, but ONLY IF you are linking two phrases into ONE sentence.

e.g. Whereas he struggled to find a job, I found one easily.

Your examples:

  • My sisters are tall whereas I’m quite short.
  • In the past, most jobs were physical, whereas nowadays most jobs are sedentary.

Do you need a comma before whereas?

A comma is not essential. The meaning is clear both with and without a comma.

‘whereas’ or ‘but’?

‘But’ can be used in most situations (but it’s simple, so it’s Band 5/6).

  • He’s well-qualified, but I don’t have any qualifications.
  • He couldn’t find a job, but I found one easily.
  • He’s well-qualified but he can’t find a job.

Common Mistakes

Many ‘contrast’ words can be used instead of ‘although’, but they all have different grammar patterns.

This often causes mistakes.

For example

  • Despite the significant costs of school transport, I believe it is the best option.
  • School transport is expensive. However, I am of the opinion that it is the best option for both families and the environment.
  • Transporting children to school by bus is undoubtedly a huge financial cost. Nevertheless, I would argue that it is by far the most environmentally-friendly option.

1. Confusing ‘whereas’ with ‘but’ ‘However’ and ‘although’

e.g. ‘I’ve studied English since 2008 whereas* I’m not fluent.’

[Use ‘but’ or ‘However’ here]

2. Putting ‘whereas’ at the start of the sentence but forgetting the second part.

e.g. Whereas*, the men in Australia had the same proportion as the women.

Finish the statement e.g.

Whereas the proportion of male and female workers in Australia was the same, in Japan the gap between them was much wider.

or

The proportion of male and female workers in Australia was the same, whereas in Japan the gap between them was much wider.

3. Using ‘although’ and ‘but’ in the same sentence.

e.g. Although I studied French for 6 years, but I’m not fluent.

4. Using ‘although’ without the second part of the sentence.

e.g. Although I studied French.

5. ‘Although’ and ‘Even though’ are followed by Subject – Verb – Object.

  • Employers may reject these CVs even though having they have good qualifications.

6. Mistakes with ‘despite’ and ‘in spite of’

  • Despite of* having a good English level, I am struggling to get Band 7.

While

Which one of these sentences is correct?

1. The proportion of male and female workers in Australia was the same, while in Japan the gap between them was much wider.

2. July, August and September were the busiest months. While during the winter, the number of health club-goers declined.

Sentence 1 uses ‘while’ just like ‘whereas’ – to join two sentences. Sentence 1 is CORRECT.

‘While’ is a linking word, and needs to join two sentences. Therefore Sentence 2 is WRONG.

Quick Practice

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