Difference Between Nonetheless and Nevertheless

Adverbs are words that act as adjectives for verbs. They modify or qualify other verbs or adverbs. They express relations between the words regarding the place, time, circumstance, manner, cause, degree, etc. For example, “She slowly went to sleep.” Here the word ‘slowly’ acts as an adverb.

Nonetheless and nevertheless are two such adverbs. Nonetheless means ‘in spite of’ and nevertheless also means the same thing. They both are two sides of a coin. They depict the same meaning.

Nonetheless vs Nevertheless

The main difference between nonetheless and nevertheless is in their usage. Nonetheless is used to indicate something that can be measurably quantified, while nevertheless is used in reference to a situation that either has, is or might occur. They both are synonymous to each other but their usage in sentences is different.

Nonetheless vs Nevertheless

Nonetheless and nevertheless aren’t used much nowadays but they sound more formal than ‘however’ or ‘anyways’. Although they aren’t used all that much anymore, it comes in handy to know about its usage.

Comparison Table Between Nonetheless and Nevertheless

Parameters of ComparisonNonethelessNevertheless
Context of UsageNonetheless is used in reference to something that can be measured.Nevertheless is used to indicate a situation that has or may occur.
Voice of SpeechUsed more in the passive voice.Used more in the active voice.
OriginCame in usage centuries after nevertheless started being used, around the 16th century.Came in usage around the 14th century.
Frequency of UsageUsed less frequently.Used more frequently.
Indication of ChanceProvides a tangible sense to the sentence.Provides a temporal sense to the sentence.

What is Nonetheless?

Nonetheless is an adverb used in the English language that means ‘despite’. There are several synonyms to the words like ‘nevertheless’, ‘even so’, ‘however’, etc. The word is used between two phrases to show the contrast between them.

For example: ” She was tired, nonetheless she decided to go to work.” The sentence tells us about the situation that the subject does something despite feeling the opposite. This shows the discrepancy between the two parts of the sentence.

Nonetheless is usually used when conversing formally. It is a compound word that is a combination of three words; none, the and less.

Around 70 million people in the world use the word nonetheless, according to research. When one uses the word nonetheless, there are chances that the situation they are referring to, might still be carried out.

For example: “She was scared. Nonetheless, she decided to open the door.” This sentence shows that even though there was a chance that the subject could have chosen not to carry out a particular action, they decided otherwise and did it anyway.

What is Nevertheless?

Nevertheless is also an adverb. It means ‘all the same or notwithstanding’.  Nevertheless is used similarly to nonetheless or to add some surprising information in the sentence.

For example: “He retired from being a doctor in 1999. Nevertheless, he still saved lives until his death.” In this sentence, nevertheless is used to indicate the surprise at the turn of events. It shows that something unexpected has happened.

Nevertheless is also used formally and is a compound word too. Nevertheless is used more often than nonetheless.

Around 130 million people in the world use nevertheless as opposed to nonetheless. The word shows a finality in the sentence. It tells us that the situation in reference might never come around or happen. It is also used more negatively than nonetheless.

For example: “They knew the team would lose. Nevertheless, he placed a bet on that team and lost everything.” This sentence shows the finality of a situation where the subject is at a loss. There are no chances of change.

Main Differences Between Nonetheless and Nevertheless

  1. Nonetheless is used for some measurable quantity while nevertheless is used for situations that may or may not occur.
  2. Nonetheless is used more in passive voice whereas nevertheless is used more in the active voice.
  3. Nevertheless is used more than nonetheless.
  4. Nonetheless originated around the 14th century while nevertheless came around during the 16th century.
  5. Nonetheless provides a tangible sense to the sentence and on the other hand, nevertheless provides a temporal sense to the sentence.
  6. Nonetheless is used more positively while nevertheless is used more negatively.


Nonetheless and nevertheless have been used in the English language since the 14th century. While they share the same meaning, they are used by people differently according to their needs. While they can be used instead of each other, research shows that people use one in place of the other due to simple psychology.

While both the adverbs used to be a part of the normal vocabulary in the earlier times, they have now been largely replaced by, however. They are used more in informal conversations and writing. These words are very close to ‘anyways’, etymologically speaking.

Nonetheless and nevertheless are not very different from each other in their meanings, but they differ in the ways that people use them. Nonetheless is used more in the passive voice and is more tangible than nevertheless. On the other hand, nevertheless is used more in active voice and is used more in the temporal sense.

Nonetheless and nevertheless are modifiers that change the meaning of the adjective subtly. Their use in a sentence changes the meaning drastically.

For example,

  • “I kept playing until I broke my knee. The adrenaline rush was worth it, nonetheless.”
  • “I never thought I would break my knee. Nevertheless, I continued to play.”

The first sentence puts the scenario in a positive light while the second sentence changes the perception to a negative one. The first sentence shows excitement and happiness, while the second sentence shows despair and regret.


  1. http://people.bu.edu/bfraser/CDM%20Papers/Blakemore%20-%20But%20Revisited%20-%20GURT%20paper.doc
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