How To Use While & As To Talk About Time

Michael Grammar Leave a Comment

While I was traveling to the office, I decided to take a nap on the train. Just as I started to fall asleep, some teenagers got sat in the seat behind me. They were talking loudly and laughing, even though it was just 7:30 in the morning! I was so upset, but as I turned around to ask them to be quiet, the man next to them scolded them and they shut up. I was lucky!

For today’s English lesson, I’m going to show you how to use the conjunctions while and as to talk about time. Specifically, we use while and as to show two things that happen at the same time.

We use as to mean, “at the moment” or “when.” Thus, as generally refers to one point in time, or an action that happens at one point in time. The grammar is as + subject + verb:

  • As I stood up, I began to feel dizzy. “At the moment I stood up….”
  • As I opened the window, the air conditioner fell out. “When I opened the window…”
  • As I turned around to ask them to be quite, the man next to them scolded them.

We use just as to emphasize the moment that something happens:

  • Just as he finished his speech, everyone stood and applauded loudly.
  • Let’s all say “Happy Birthday” just as she walks in the room.
  • Just as we pulled out of the drive way, I realized I had left my wallet on the kitchen table.

We use while to mean, “during some activity.” Thus, while generally refers to some activity that happens over a period of time. The grammar is while + subject + verb or while + gerund:

  • While I was working, the phone rang many times. “During the time I was working….”
  • While having dinner, I generally don’t watch TV. “During the time I am having dinner….”
  • While I was traveling to the office, I decided to take a nap on the train.

How about writing a few sentences using as & while in the comment box below? I’ll review them for you!
If you know anyone who has trouble with this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. Thanks for studying today!