While vs. During

By Jaxson

  • While

    “While” is a word in the English language that functions both as a noun and as a subordinating conjunction. Its meaning varies largely based on its intended function, position in the phrase and even the writer or speaker’s regional dialect. As a conjunction, it is synonymous with the word “whilst”, a form often considered archaic in American English, as well as in some style guides on both sides of the Atlantic.

  • While (noun)

    An uncertain duration of time, a period of time.

    “He lectured for quite a long while.”

  • While (conjunction)

    During the same time that.

    “He was sleeping while I was singing.”

  • While (conjunction)


    “This case, while interesting, is a bit frustrating.”

  • While (conjunction)


    “I’ll wait while you’ve finished painting.”

  • While (conjunction)

    As long as.

    “While you’re at school you may live at home.”

  • While (preposition)


  • While (verb)

    To pass (time) idly.

  • While (verb)

    To loiter.

  • During (preposition)

    For all of a given time interval.

    “I lived with my parents during the 1970s.”

    “The shop was one of the few able to stay open during the war.”

  • During (preposition)

    At any time or period within a given time interval.

    “I lived with my parents at several points during the 1980s.”

    “Many of the best examples were produced during the Restoration.”


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