Sunday, July 13, 2008

Although and Though

I see a common thread regarding the use of though and although. Most posts on the subject say simply that though is the informal version of although and the two words can be freely interchanged. They note that though may act as an adverb, but don't afford the point much consideration.

It seems to me that though's flexibility makes rather a crucial difference between the words. You can choose either to mean “in spite of the fact that”, writing either, “I will attend the concert, although my head hurts,” or, “I'm going to the concert, though I have a headache,” but that's as far as although can go.

Though, on the other hand, can wander freely about the sentence. Instead of acting as a conjunction, as both words do in the previous examples, it can park itself in the middle or at the end of a sentence. “My head hurts. I'm going to the concert, though.” When thus used, its meaning subtly changes to however or nevertheless.

I cal that a subtle change because both of those words mean “in spite of that”. The last example says to readers, “I'm going to the concert in spite of my headache.” I could write, “My head, though hurting, cannot keep me from the concert,” or “My headache, though, cannot keep me from attending.” You cannot substitute although in any of those three examples.

What point, you may be wondering, am I trying to make? I've no rant or pet peeve regarding either word. This point has been neglected in other posts regarding the topic, so I thought I'd save time by posting my thoughts here rather than in the comments at several other sites. As common board-speak goes: Just sayin'.