Should I always use 'despite' instead of 'despite of'?
However, despite of is not incorrect per se; it's just a bit dated. Look no further than at the works of William Shakespeare:
What's more, that quirky fella didn't stop at that. Just look at this horrible English:
I (well, he) could go on, but you get the idea.
Now let's head over to the States and look at what the Corpus of Historical American English has to offer:
That's not much, but not exactly nothing, either. The most interesting part is the distribution by year. A picture is worth a thousand words:
(X axis: year, Y axis: incidences per million words)
Now, before you forget where I started, I will add that the Corpus also has a whopping 24305 cites for just "despite", and 20802 cites for "in spite of". So a more accurate picture would be this:
Note how this also tells an interesting story about despite vs. in spite of.
Back to the UK, the British National Corpus has 2695 cites for "in spite of", 14356 cites for "despite", but only 3 cites for "(in) despite of".
So the bottom line is this: by all means do use despite (or in spite of). However, if you accidentally use despite of or even in despite of and someone corrects you, you can now at least pretend that you were emulating Shakespeare.
Edit: Interestingly enough, Merriam-Webster simply says that in despite of is a synonym for in spite of and leaves it at that. I also totally forgot to look it up in the most obvious place: Etymonline. Here's what it has to say:
Yes, you should use despite. The word despite is a preposition which takes a noun as its object, and doesn't require of. Despite of is incorrect, and sounds distinctly non-native.
(You're probably getting confused by the similar phrase in spite of. In spite of means basically the same thing as despite.)
When you say "despite of", it sounds like you are conflating "despite" and "in spite of". "Despite of" is not a phrase, but these other two are. Their meanings are basically the same.
protected by tchrist Jul 1 '14 at 0:51
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