In the last Column, I wrote that the following were acceptable:
1) In spite of the fact that it is a pen, it does not write.
2) In spite of it being Tokyo, we could find nowhere to eat late at night.
However, the following are not correct English:
3) X In spite of a pen, ...
4) X In spite of Tokyo, ...
I think that the easiest way to check whether we can use the short version is to substitute "Because (of)" for "In spite of". When we do this, it becomes much clearer that a simple label before the comma looks strange:
5) X Because of autumn / a holiday / a pen / Tokyo, ...
All the possibilities in (5) are not grammatical. As in the case of "In spite of", with "Because (of)" we need some kind of hint that tells us how the sentence is going to logically develop:
6) Because it is autumn, the trees are red and orange.
7) Because of the rainy autumn, I have stayed indoors a lot.
8) Because it is a holiday, ...
9) Because of the unexpected holiday, ...
So, to summarize these three Columns, we can say the following:
a) "In spite of" has a short version, and two long versions.
b) In the case of "In spite of" sentences, the information before the comma must allow us to make a guess as to what comes after the comma.
c) Because of (b), a simple label usually cannot be before the comma.
d) If we have a simple label in a Japanese sentence, we must expand it to a clause if we want to translate the Japanese to English.
d) We can use "Because (of)" as a grammar check.
substitute A for B：Bの代わりにAを使う