During Versus While and WR 3 and 4   Leave a comment

I will try to give a tip here as well.  There also is an urgent announcement for those of you that are in the Weekly Reader 3 and 4.  We temporarily have no access to the articles online, until the company sends me the access code.  This may happen by tomorrow, but also could take a few weeks.  For now, I will send you a scan of the article, until we have access again.  I will let you know as soon as we have regained access.

Now, on to the tip of the week…

We have spoken about the importance of using the word “while.” This is a bit more
specific.  Sometimes, I hear students having trouble with choosing between using the words “during” and “while.”  Do you know when to use each?  Are you using them as though they can be used in place of each other?  If you are, you had better read on…

“During” is used when we are taking about events or periods of time.  For example:

She swims every day during the summer.  (a period of time)

We got along well during the trip. (an occurrence)

The fire alarm went off during the ceremony. (an event)

Can you use the word “while” in any of these sentences?  Try them and see…

No, you cannot.  “While” is used when we are describing some action that occurred at the same time as something else.  The emphasis and difference is that “while” is used when the second thing going on is an ACTION, not an event, period of time, or occurrence.  For example:

Someone called while you were out.  (The action is the person was gone from the house)

You can get the photos developed while you wait.  (waiting is the action here)

The phone rang while I was doing the dishes. (doing the dishes is the action)

Can you use “during” in place of “while” in any of the last three sentences?  Try it out…

No, you cannot.  We use “during” when the thing after it is an event, occurrence, or period of time.  We use “while” to refer to something happening at the same time as an action.

Let’s try a few…

1) We should enjoy this good weather (during/while) it lasts.

2) They talked with each other in the back of the room (during/while) the lecture.

3) He cried (during/while) he sat on the ground.

4) (During/While) the weekends, she likes to go on long hikes.


1) While – last is an action here.  Until it is gone.
2) During – the lecture is an event
3) While – sitting is an action, not a period of time, event, or occurrence
4) During – the weekends are a period of time


Posted November 22, 2013 by laurieflood in Uncategorized

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