Nonetheless and nevertheless appear to be similar words, but they have slightly different meanings. Nonetheless means “in contrast to something that happened or was said.” Nevertheless means “in spite of something happening.”
Here, we’ll give you some tips on how to remember the difference between nonetheless and nevertheless in your writing.
Nonetheless vs. nevertheless
The definition of nonetheless is “in contrast to something that happened or was said.” The definition of nevertheless is “in spite of that,” “notwithstanding,” and “all the same.” Nonetheless is also used when speaking about a certain amount of something. Nevertheless is used when referring to something in spite of time or facts.
Both are compound adverbs—compound words that modify a verb or another adverb—that are used to express contrast. Nonetheless and nevertheless are a combination of three words that are spelled as one word: none the less and never the less. Although most dictionaries state that you can use the two words interchangeably, a deeper look at their definitions provides hints on how to distinguish them.
The adverbs at the beginning of each compound word also offer hints. None in nonetheless is used to describe amounts of something, and never in nevertheless modifies facts or time.
Both are also known as conjunctive adverbs, or an adverb that connects two independent clauses into one sentence.
When to use nonetheless
Use nonetheless when you want to say “in contrast to something happening” or “in spite of something being said.”
Since nonetheless is a conjunctive adverb, it can be used to connect two independent clauses. Here’s an example:
Mom said I needed to apply more sunscreen; nonetheless, I continued to splash around and ended up getting sunburnt.
Some writers will use but before nonetheless, and although it’s not grammatically incorrect to do so, it is unnecessary.
Nonetheless can also be used to refer to a certain amount of something, which makes sense since it starts with the adverb none, which means “no amount” of something.
When to use nevertheless
Use nevertheless when you want to say “in spite of the facts” or “however.”
Nevertheless is a conjunctive adverb and can be used to combine two independent clauses into one sentence.
I had never trained for a 5K before; nevertheless, I was confident I could win this race.
Although it’s not grammatically incorrect, it’s not necessary to use but before nevertheless.
An easy way to remember when to use nevertheless is to look at the adverb never, which is used to modify time or facts.
Nonetheless vs. nevertheless examples
Here are four examples of how to use nonetheless in a sentence.
- I told them we weren’t doing presents this holiday; nonetheless, they bought me a new necklace.
- The doctor advised me to stay on bed rest for a week; nonetheless, I was hiking two days after my surgery.
- Jenny wasn’t sure if she would like her new school; she made tons of new friends, nonetheless.
- He said he was exhausted from a long day at work; nonetheless, he played catch with his son as promised.
Here are four examples of how to use nevertheless in a sentence.
- I don’t have great hand-eye coordination; nevertheless, I did pretty well at the arcade.
- The odds were against me; nevertheless, I was able to set a new personal best swim time.
- The visiting team was booed by the crowd; they were able to focus on the game and won, nevertheless.
- I only had an hour to complete the assignment; nevertheless, I handed it in on time and got an A.
Nonetheless vs. nevertheless FAQs
What is the difference between the nonetheless and nevertheless?
Although both words are spelled similarly and are used to express contrast, the difference between the two comes down to particular scenarios. Nonetheless should be used to express contrast to something that happened or was said, and nevertheless is used to mean “in spite of facts or time.”
What is the definition of nonetheless?
The definition of nonetheless is “in contrast to something that happened or was said.” It can also be used to refer to a certain amount of something.
What is the definition of nevertheless?
The definition of nevertheless is “in spite of time or facts.” It can also be used in place of however.
When should you use each?
Nonetheless and nevertheless can both be used as conjunctive adverbs, or adverbs that are used to connect two independent clauses. Use nonetheless when you mean “in contrast to something that happened or in spite of something said,” and use nevertheless when you mean “in spite of facts or time.”