2

In the following two sentences, the second one sounds more natural to me.

  1. I slept well at the hotel, although it was an unfamiliar place. (awkward?)
  2. I slept well at the hotel, even though it was an unfamiliar place. (more natural, right?)

However, if I change the order, they both seem fine:

  1. Although it was an unfamiliar place, I slept well at the hotel.
  2. Even though it was an unfamiliar place, I slept well at the hotel.

Are all four sentences fine? I think just "1" seems awkward. Is there some reason why the position of although is awkward (or less common) there?

Thanks!

  • 1
    Interesting. Perhaps an 'although' after the main clause sets the reader up to expect a sequential-event contrastive (1'. I slept well at the hotel, although the same could not be said for the cabin where I stayed later. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 20 '18 at 9:13
1

The sentence "I slept well at the hotel, although it was an unfamiliar place" does not strongly express the contrast between the expectation (I'm not going to sleep well because the hotel is unfamiliar) and the reality (I did sleep well!). This is why it may feel awkward in comparison with I slept well at the hotel, even though it was an unfamiliar place, which does indeed convey this contrast.

As Collins Cobuild English Usage (p225) states:

Even though has a similar meaning to 'although', but it is more emphatic.

The reason why, conversely, "Although it was an unfamiliar place, I slept well at the hotel" sounds natural is probably due to the fact that the dependent clause is 'fronted' and thus given added emphasis. This is sufficient to convey the contrast between the expectation and the reality.

  • Is it just me, or does the first sentence in the question feel much less awkward if we just remove the comma? – Mr Reality Jan 18 at 9:55
  • @Mr Reality. I'm not sure the comma makes the sentence more awkward; rather it serves to emphasise the contrast. See the last example (15) in OWL's page on comma use: owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/punctuation/commas/… – Shoe Jan 18 at 11:06
  • Hmm, maybe part of why the without-commas version feels less awkward to me is that, without further context, there doesn't seem to be a reason for emphasising the contrast in the given sentence. – Mr Reality Jan 18 at 11:23
  • Good point! That's always the problem with the decontextualised sentences that populate the questions on the site. – Shoe Jan 18 at 11:31
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Although the place was unfamiliar, I slept well at the hotel.

Even though the place was unfamiliar, I slept well within the hotel.

Above are a couple of alternative ways to write it. Depending on whether you want to emphasize the unfamiliarity of the place (location) or the hotel.

The difference between the two subordinators is very subtle as they are near-synonyms.

To me, the one with "Although" seems less connected to any other possible reason, and is possibly more informal. While "Even though" has more of a contrastive feel. As if you might not typically be comfortable sleeping in hotels at unfamiliar places.

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"Even though" has the meaning "Despite the fact that", as does "though" (Cambridge Dictionary).

"Although" was originally more emphatic than "though" but by 1400 it was just a variant. Today, the choice between "although" and "though" is determined by rhythm. - Etymonline

So the choice really does come down to your ear. If one sounds better than the other then go with it.

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