I'm trying to write good English even if I'm not a native speaker. My phrase goes something like:

I then realized program X doesn't provide classes for Y (albeit its excellent support for Z).

Is the word albeit used properly? I tried a dictionary, and one definition says it's similar to although, although I'm pretty sure that word doesn't fit in that particular sentence (see what I did there? I do know how to use that word, at least).

  • After reading the above, I am impressed by it all, thank you. I shall avoid using this albeit and stick to understandable words. If one has to explain the meaning of your writing; its purpose will be lost to many (they won't bother to find out what unusual terms or words mean) So why show off trying to impress the readers... NB. Many people with English as a second language have difficulty with basic reporting, description and understandings. Why complicate life more? Nothing wrong with "even though" this would be easily understood by most. *Assuming of course that was the author's intenti
    – user61207
    Jan 3, 2014 at 5:40
  • If you are trying to write in proper English you should use "does not" rather than "doesn't"...just saying.
    – user64475
    Feb 2, 2014 at 16:56

8 Answers 8


Yes, albeit does just mean although.

There, you seem to be using "albeit" to mean "despite", which that word does not mean.

Why not just use the word "despite"?

  • 2
    +1 Unless there's an apostrophe missing in 'its', that is. The use of 'albeit' for 'although' sounds as if the writer wants to impress rather than express. Oct 15, 2011 at 6:43
  • @BarrieEngland that's great information. I'm certainly not trying to impress (much less give the impression that I'm trying to impress). I'll use despite. Thanks a lot
    – cambraca
    Oct 15, 2011 at 23:31
  • -1 What has despite to do with the question? Please see zpletan & Derek Peasah as well as the other answers on this page.
    – Kris
    Jan 3, 2014 at 11:07
  • Huh @BarrieEngland ?
    – Kris
    Jan 3, 2014 at 11:08
  • 2
    @jeremy "Albeit" is not the same as "although", although you are correct about "despite" being the word the OP was looking for. (Try to replace my usage of "although" after the comma in the previous sentence with "albeit". You'll find it doesn't seem right.)
    – nollidge
    Feb 10, 2014 at 19:51

Albeit means "although it be". Without the verb indication of state "be, is, was" it is not felicitously dealt with; here the statement should read:

I then realized that program X doesn't provide classes for Y (albeit an excellent support for Z).

Without the use of "it's" which is already provided in albeit (all be it) therefore, although is not an adequate synonym for the word.

  • 3
    I cannot parse this. You might even be right, but you are incomprehensible. What happened to your punctuation?
    – RegDwigнt
    May 26, 2013 at 10:43

Garner in Modern American Usage has a good entry on this. He says:

Though Eric Partridge pronounced this conjunction archaic, it thrives in AmE. Labeled “literary” in the COD, the word albeit means “though.” The predominant modern use for albeit is to introduce concessive phrases - e.g.:

- “How did one of the most respected engineering scholls in the country, albeit the smallest_, reach such a low point?” [...] 26 Oct. 1996, [...].
- “There may be another way, albeit unconfirmed, to increase your odds.” [...] 17 Mar. 1997, [...].

Albeit may also begin a subordinate clause, albeit though or although is mor natural and more common with this type of construction - e.g.:

“The state will let the free market do it, albeit the effects may accrue more unevenly and, perhaps, more brutally.” [...] 25 Oct. 1996, [...].

Also, on Common Errors in English Usage by Paul Brians (2nd Edition) we can read:

“Albeit” is a single word meaning “although”: “Rani’s recipe called for a tablespoon of saffron, which made it very tasty, albeit rather expensive.” It should not be broken up into three separate words as “all be it,” just as “although” is not broken up into “all though.”

According to preceding references, your usage of albeit is correct, albeit although is more natural:

I then realized program X doesn't provide classes for Y (although it[']s excellent support for Z).


Merriam-Webster lists albeit's etymology as literally "all though it be," and as best I can gather, that's still how it's used today. Your sentence could perhaps be better stated:

I then realized that program X doesn't provide classes for Y (albeit excellently supporting Z). 

  • This answer (perhaps presumptuously) presumes from the context that you meant "its" as "it has," and that you just forgot the apostrophe. If you really did mean "its" as possessive, I'd go with @Jeremy's "despite."
    – zpletan
    Oct 15, 2011 at 12:53
  • "I then realized that program X doesn't provide classes for Y (albeit excellently supporting Z)." is a wrong statement also, as albeit is only used to introduce noun but not adjectival phrases May 26, 2013 at 9:31

You are replacing "it has" with the possessive "its" which is another matter altogether. I would recommend taking out the parentheses and using a comma, and changing "its" to another word that demonstrates the possessive right of 'X' in your dependent clause while blending with "albeit:"

I then realized program X doesn't provide classes for Y, albeit having excellent support for Z.

Here is another example. In this case "albeit" replaces "although" or "even though" with a more elegant solution:

We are now able to see the newly added machines in the web interface, albeit operating as if they are seven hours in the future. We will get the clock issue fixed.

Shakespeare uses 'albeit' well, and well might we (read the following aloud:)

"I have done the state some service, and they know ’t.
No more of that. I pray you, in your letters,
When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,
Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate,
Nor set down aught in malice.
Then, must you speak
Of one that loved not wisely but too well;
Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought
Perplex’d in the extreme; of one whose hand,
Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away
Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdued eyes,
Albeit unused to the melting mood,
Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees
Their medicinal gum."

(from "Othello.")


In another, unrelated question, OP posted (after tidying):

I have a friend who is from the Midwest and uses words in ways that, albeit they may be grammatically correct, sound bad.

Though this usage accords with Partridge's 'Albeit may also begin a subordinate clause' (see user19148's answer here), and 'though' or 'even though' work fine here, I consider that inserting the albeit-clause within the matrix sentence (I have a friend who is from the Midwest and uses words in ways that ___ sound bad.) sounds unnatural to the point of unacceptability.


The following is from the University of Hull website (slb-ltsu.hull.ac.uk/awe/index.php?title=Albeit_-_howbeit), and might be of use/interest. It discusses "albeit" and also "howbeit."

Albeit is properly a conjunction. It means the same as 'though', or 'although'. It can be used more firmly as a contrast, 'even though' or 'even if'. It is rather archaic, and is rarely found outside academic and legal English.

Howbeit is even more archaic, although still to be found in academic writing - sometimes by the confusion that Fowler is trying to warn us against. It is nowadays only a sentence adverbial, roughly equivalent ot 'nevertheless' or 'however' (although OED records an obsolete usage as a conjunction, with a last quotation dated 1634.)

Fowler's concern is mostly with the implications for punctuation. As howbeit is most commonly used at the start of a sentence although it is not a conjunction (~ 'joining word'), it should normally be preceded by a full stop. As albeit, on the contrary, is a conjunction, it should normally be preceded by a comma.

The etymology of both these words may be worth attention. They contain a use of the subjunctive mood of the verb 'to be': each was originally a three-word phrase, 'al[though] it [may] be' and 'how[ever] it may be'. Each had a past tense, all were it and how were it.

Neither is current in present-day English.

  • Merely quoting verbatim from an external source does not make an answer. (One can simply post a link as a comment.) Include your own contribution.
    – Kris
    Jan 3, 2014 at 11:04
  • Sorry. I didn't realize there was a distinction between an answer and a comment (still not sure I know the difference). Are there guidelines somewhere?
    – Chris_C
    Jan 5, 2014 at 6:57
  • Maybe to start with: english.stackexchange.com/help If you have any more specific questions, you can ask on meta: meta.english.stackexchange.com All the Best!
    – Kris
    Jan 5, 2014 at 7:09

I'm old and I've seen words that were not considered words now holding a place in the standard English dictionary. Like ain't and fishes.

The best answer for albeit is the one with the least votes and it is the shortest and most true. "You use albeit to introduce a fact or comment which reduces the force of what you just said"..... Kind of.

It's more of a stance that I concede this to be true or better (albeit), however I am speaking on this point (aspect of the topic) none-the-less.

It's more of stating a knowledge or understanding of the subject or circumstance, giving it the proper authority, mention or recognition (mostly to avoid future debate or argument to your position) in conjunction with addressing the aspect of the topic of which you wish to present.

The meteor shower was the most beautiful display of natures' fireworks, albeit brief in it's fleeting effervescence, I have ever witnessed in my lifetime.

Yes I know and agree it was short and sweet but none-the-less it was the greatest thing I've ever seen in the night sky.

Switch albeit with although and you are NOW lessening what you just said with the subsequent comment.

It was a great vision to behold even though it was too short.

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