Have you ever encountered the word notwithstanding? You might think it looks like three separate words stuck together—not, with, and standing. But if you think about the definitions of those three words, the term doesn’t make any sense. What does notwithstanding mean? How can you use it? Today is the time to define and learn the purpose of this handy word.
Notwithstanding means “despite.” Let’s look at notwithstanding in a sentence, first as a preposition:
You can also place notwithstanding after its object, so you’ll often see it used like this:
Notwithstanding can also function as an adverb. Its meaning is close to “nevertheless” or “in spite of this”:
Finally, notwithstanding can serve as a conjunction. In those cases, notwithstanding means “although,” or “in spite of.” Here’s an example:
Common expressions with notwithstanding
Notwithstanding often appears in certain expressions.
- “Notwithstanding the foregoing” means “in spite of the things previously mentioned or written.”
- “Notwithstanding anything to the contrary” is legal language that declares that a clause supersedes anything forthcoming that might contradict it.
Notwithstanding quotes from literature
Now that you understand what notwithstanding means, you might be interested in how master writers employ it.
What will you do the next time you see notwithstanding? You might smile because you know its definition. Better yet, you might just use it yourself.