English Lesson: During Vs. While

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What’s the difference between DURING and WHILE. Both of these words are used to refer to certain time periods, events, or actions. The thing is, that the way we use them is different. Have a look at this paragraph so see what I mean:

It was raining during the day, so I didn’t feel like going out. I had a relaxing morning. It was just me and my dog Max hanging out on the sofa. Then, while I was having lunch, the sun came out. Max wanted to go for a walk. While I was walking him, I met my neighbor, Gus. During our chat, Gus mentioned that he wanted to get a dog, too!

Take a look at the opening paragraph above, and you notice I used both during and while:

  • It was raining during the day.
  • During our chat…
  • While I was having lunch, the sun came out.
  • While I was walking him…

First of all, we use DURING when we refer to certain time periods or events. The grammar is DURING followed by a NOUN:

  • It was raining during the day.
  • The Beatles were very popular during the 1960’s
  • During his life, Edison invented many useful objects.
  • I can’t use my cell phone during work.

By the way, when we talk about the time period of Monday to Friday, we can say during the week:

    • I work during the week, so my only chance to play golf is on the weekend.

Note that we don’t use DURING before certain time words. For example, don’t say during Monday…say on Monday.

On the other hand, we use WHILE when we refer to certain actions. The grammar is WHILE followed by a GERUND (that’s the ING verb) or WHILE followed by a SUBJECT/VERB:

  • While I was eating lunch, I read my book.
  • While I was walking the dog, I saw my neighbor.
  • Please don’t drink while driving!
  • I can’t use my cell phone while I working.

If you know anyone who might be interested in this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. Thanks for studying today!


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