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Hello!

The grammar rules I read say that after in spite of/ despite we use a noun or a gerund. What rules explain this usage:

In spite of what I said yesterday I still love you. Or In spite of all that has been said, they have been doing what they think is right. ?

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The 'rule' is right.

Your examples "what I said yesterday" and "all that has been said" are noun phrases, so they do comply with the rule.

It is true that "in spite of " and "despite" take only noun phrases or gerund-participial clauses as complement:

Despite / in spite of the weather, the match still went ahead. [noun phrase]

Despite / in spite of having terrible weather, the match still went ahead. [gerund-participial clause]

Note that "despite" and "of" are prepositions, so one would naturally expect them to take an NP complement. The fact that gerund-participial clauses are similar in some ways to nouns probably explains why they too can serve as complements.



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panda panda 682The grammar rules I read say that after in spite of/ despite we use a noun or a gerund.

Don't read such rules. Throw the book away! Learn to use English the way it is used in real life. Don't pay too much attention to every "rule" you hear or read.

CB

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Further to CB's comment, I'd like to add that in my opinion most native speakers are not consciously aware of such rules and would be unable to explain them. However, I understand that people learning English have a variety of learning styles, so for some people the so-called rules are necessary and helpful. For others, not so much!

Clive

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I see now. Thanks a lot for the detailed explanation!

Clive

Further to CB's comment, I'd like to add that that in my opinion most native speakers are not consciously aware of such rules and would be unable to explain them. However, I understand that people learning English have a variety of learning styles, so for some people the so-called rules are necessary and helpful. For others, not so much!

Clive

Well, the OP is aware of the rule, and simply asked in what way it permitted their examples.

To tell the OP to ignore the rule, as CB did, makes no sense at all. They deserved better advice than that.

If you read the OP's question, it is apparent that they were not aware that their examples were in fact NPs and thus they did not in fact violate the rule.

Cool BreezeDon't read such rules. Throw the book away! Don't pay too much attention to every "rule" you hear or read.

I'm sorry, CB, but that's bad advice; presumably you gave it because you didn't know the rule yourself? The OP is aware of the rule, and merely sought advice about whether their particular examples complied with it, which they do.

Cool BreezeLearn to use English the way it is used in real life

Observance of the rule in question is the way English is used in real life.

"Despite" and "in spite of" do in fact take only NPs and gerund-participial clauses as complement, which means the rule is valid. Ignoring it results in loss of grammaticality, which cannot be condoned.

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CliveHowever, I understand that people learning English have a variety of learning styles, so for some people the so-called rules are necessary and helpful.

Yes, of course, Clive. You are right as usual. I was a little too hasty writing my post. When I was an active teacher, I probably used more rules in my teaching than the average teacher.

I should have pointed out for the OP that in their sentences a pronoun followed the preposition, and as the English term pronoun suggests, a pronoun can be used in place of a noun. Grammar terminology can cause confusion, by the way, as there are languages in which pronouns are not used in the same way as in English. In Finnish, for example, a pronoun does not necessarily replace a noun. Furthermore, there are many other grammatical differences between languages.

We don't know the nationality of the people who ask questions here, and consequently we don't know what grammatical terms they are familiar with, if any at all. In my opinion, the less complicated an explanation is and the fewer grammar terms are used in it, the better. Rules are unavoidable, though.

Thanks for your comment.

CB

The detailed explanation WITH grammar terms was just what I needed.

Thanks again to BillJ

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