English provides various ways of describing the causal relationships between things.

So and because edit

The words so and because are opposites. They both indicate that one phrase is a cause of the other, but they do so in opposite directions.

A -> B B -> A
A so B B because of A

Because "so" and "because" are opposites, phrases joined by them can be reversed without changing the meaning if they are exchanged.

It started raining so I brought my umbrella.
I brought my umbrella because It started raining.

In spite of edit

Meaning edit

The phrase in spite of functions as a preposition and means the opposite of "because," in a sense. Both "because of A" and "in spite of A" mean that something happened, but "because of A" means that A was at least helpful, but "in spite of A" means that A was unhelpful.

Example Meaning
I found it because of the map The map was clear and accurate.
I found it in spite of the map The map was confusing and full of mistakes.

Despite has the same meaning but is more formal.

Mechanics edit

"In spite of" may come before a noun. In that case, it basically equals although.

It may also come before a verb in -ing form.

  • I crossed the bridge in spite of being afraid of heights.
  • She caught a cold in spite of taking vitamins everyday.
  • He failed the exam in spite of studying hard.

Quiz edit

1 I forgot the milk - writing it on my memo pad.

2 The food has gone bad - we can't eat it now.

3 He asked me a question - I explained it to him.

4 She found it - she had been looking carefully.