top of page

How to Use "Though" Correctly

You've probably seen the word "though" and heard it from native speakers. This lesson will help you learn how to use "though" correctly.

One of the words that students ask about the most is the word “though”. It’s very common to hear native English speakers saying this word “though” and it’s common to see the word in blogs, newspapers, and magazines, as well as in the subtitles of movies and tv shows.

The most similar words to “though” are the words “but” and “however”. The word “but” is a conjunction, which means “though” can be a conjunction, and the word “however” is an adverb, which means “though” can also be an adverb. This is explained below:

a) “Though” as a conjunction

The first way that you can use “though” is to connect two clauses together in the same sentence when the two clauses have contrasting meanings. This is similar to how we use “but” to connect two contrasting clauses in the same sentence. If you say: “I tried but I failed”, you could change it and say: “Though I tried, I failed”. This is contrasting because when you try, you usually succeed, but in this case, you failed, which is opposite (contrast).

The main difference is that “but” is always in the middle of the two clauses “Clause A + but + Clause B”, while “though” can be at the beginning of the two clauses: “Though + Clause A + Clause B”.

  • Though I was invited to the party, I decided not to attend. – this means “I was invited to the party, but I decided not to”

The conjunction “though” can also be in the middle to connect two clauses. It depends on how you organize the sentence, but the word “though” should introduce the clause that gives background description to the situation, which is usually the situation that happens first.

In the examples above, you were invited first (before you decide not to attend), so “though” is connected to the clause “I was invited”, and in the other example, you tried first (before you failed), so “though” is connected to the clause “I tried”.

In the example below, “though” is used in the middle of two clauses and introduces the event that provides background and happened first:

  • She forgot about her appointment, though I reminded her about it. – “I reminded her” happened first, before she forgot

You can use the adverb “even” with the conjunction “though” to emphasize that the contrast is stronger. In the example above, if you reminded her five times, you can use “even though” because her forgetting is more surprising when she was reminded five times:

  • She forgot about her appointment, even though I reminded her about it five times.

b) “Though” as an adverb

You can also use “though” at the end of a sentence when it contrasts with the previous sentence. Instead of saying “but” or “however” to start the second sentence, you can put “though” at the end of the second sentence:

  • The hotel was very expensive. However/But The room where we stayed was beautiful, though.

  • I didn’t know anybody at the party. However/But I had a good time, though.

  • We looked at five houses. However/But We didn’t like any of them, though.

When speaking, people often use “though” at the end of the second sentence because it’s a little softer and not as strong as saying “but” or “however” at the start of the second point. It’s also common when you want to add the second sentence as an afterthought, which means it’s something you did not originally plan to say, but you decided to say it at the moment.

For example, if you said: “I drive for one hour to work every day” and then you decide that you want to add the comment “it’s better than the bus”, this becomes like an afterthought to contrast the previous sentence. In this case, it’s more common to add “though” at the end of the second sentence instead of saying “but” or “however” at the beginning of it. Imagine someone is saying the following sentences, instead of writing them:

  • “I drive for one hour to work every day. It’s better than taking the bus, though.” – more common

  • "I drive for one hour to work every day. But it’s better than taking the bus.” – less common

  • "I drive for one hour to work every day. However, it’s better than taking the bus.” – less common

To learn more about conjunctions like "though" and conjunctive adverbs like "however", read lesson #21 in the book Grammar Essentials Part 1

To learn more about the difference between "even", "even though", and "even if", read lesson #14 in the book What's the Difference Between...? Part 1

To learn more about the difference between "despite", "although", "even though" and "though", read lesson #15 in the book What's the Difference Between...? Part 1



Practice

Rewrite the following sentences using “though” to replace “but” or “however”. If the two clauses are in the same sentence, then use “though” at the beginning or in the middle to connect the two clauses, and if the two clauses are in different sentences, use “though” at the end of the second sentence.

a) He has lots of money, but he’s not happy.

b) She is very famous in her native country, but nobody knows about her outside of her country.

c) The hospital has modern equipment, but there are not enough doctors and nurses.

d) My friends didn’t like the movie that we watched. However, I thought it was good.

e) I would love to have a cat or a dog someday. However, my husband doesn’t want a pet.

f) Learning a second language is difficult and frustrating. However, it’s worth it.

Answers

a) Though he has lots of money, he’s not happy.

b) Though she is very famous in her native country, nobody knows about her outside of her country.

c) Though the hospital has modern equipment, there are not enough doctors and nurses.

d) My friends didn’t like the movie that we watched. I thought it was good, though.

e) I would love to have a cat or dog someday. My husband doesn’t want a pet, though.

f) Learning a second language is difficult and frustrating. It’s worth it, though.

Comments


bottom of page