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Notwithstanding vs In spite of vs despite

Notwithstanding, in spite ofdespite are often interchangeable prepositions.

Notwithstanding, the least emphatic, merely implies the presence of an obstacle; in spite of , the most emphatic, suggests active opposition or strongly adverse considerations to be encountered; despite is somewhat lighter in its emphasis than in spite of and otherwise is closer to notwithstanding than to in spite of <notwithstanding the rain, I shall go>  <I shall go in spite of all your efforts to prevent me>  <despite his assurances, I doubted him>