During vs While: Difference and Comparison

The proper use of grammar is essential for improving our speaking and writing skills, as it is the basic set of rules that helps us form the right sentences.

During and While are the two necessary grammatical usages that ought to be targeted. As people mostly get confused with these two words and their usage in sentence formation.

Key Takeaways

  1. During is used to indicate a period in which something happens, while indicates that two actions are happening simultaneously.
  2. During is followed by a noun or noun phrase, while a clause follows While.
  3. During can be used as a preposition or conjunction, while While can only be used as a conjunction.

During vs While

During is a word used to define things that happened throughout an event, from the beginning to when it ends. While is a word used to define two situations happening simultaneously, like a person performing two tasks simultaneously. The sentences will be connected with a while.

During vs While

During is used to express the things that happened throughout an event. For example – if there is a football match going on, the match will be considered an event.

And anything that occurs between the period of that match will be indicated using the word During.

-My friends didn’t talk to me During the match. (During is used to show that there was no conversation throughout the match.)

On the other hand, While is a word that works between two situations at the same time. Let’s understand this with an example: The man was eating food and watching the T.V at the same time.

In this sentence, a man is performing two tasks at the same time. To express this, we will use the word While:

The man was eating food While he was watching the T.V.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonDuringWhile
Classified asPrepositionConjunction
Followed byDuring is followed by a nounWhile is followed by a subject and a verb
Based onIt based on a duration of timeIt is based on a subject and the action performed at a particular time.
UsesUsed to express the things that happen over a period of timeIt is used to express the actions performed by the subject
FunctionIt’s function is to tell what happened throughout the eventIt’s function is to show the connection between two actions performed by the subject.

What is During?

During is a preposition followed by a noun which means you cannot use a verb, conjunction, or any other part of speech after During. It is the word in grammar that tells us what happened over time.

Also Read:  Nouns vs Verbs: Difference and Comparison

What are the activities, or what are the main things that took place at that particular course of the event? There can be many things that can take place between the time.

To demonstrate these activities that had happened over a period, we use During.

To understand this consider the following statement: There was a presentation going on from 10.00 a.m till 3.00 p.m.

Consequently, whatever took place between these times, will be expressed with the word During. For example:

-She didn’t talk During the presentation.

-He was napping During the presentation.

People are confused with the use of During and While. Let’s understand this with an example:

-I was eating During/While watching television. (Here, two activities are taking place at the same time. So While will be the answer.)

-She reads every day During/ While her exams. (Here, we have an event exam, and throughout the exams, she studied. So During will be the correct answer.)


What is While?

While conjunction is followed by a subject and verb that joins the activities performed by one or more subjects, the word in grammar tells us about the actions or activities performed by a subject at a particular time.

While in a sentence, the main rule is that there can be one or more subjects, but more than one activity should occur simultaneously.

If these conditions are satisfied, we can use the word While.

To be more precise, consider the following example- Raju was driving a car, and his wife was singing, so we have two subjects performing two different activities at the same time.

Also Read:  Synecdoche vs Metonymy: Difference and Comparison

So, to express these actions in a sentence, we will use While.

-His wife was singing while Raju was driving a car.

Consider the following examples to differentiate the correct usage of While:

-Please don’t smoke During/While I’m eating. (There are two actions taking place simultaneously, and we have two subjects. So, we will use the word While)

  • I had a good time During/While the trip (There is an event called the trip, and he had a good time throughout the trip. So, so we will use the word During.)

Main Differences Between During  and While

  1. The word During refers to an event or activities that occurred over time, whereas the word. While referring to actions that occurred at the same time.

2. During is a Preposition, and While is a Conjunction.

3. They almost mean the same in grammar, but the sentence structure differs.

4. During mainly focused on the actions that took place at the time. Whereas, While mainly focused on the actions carried out at the same time.

5. In simple words, During means over some time, and While means simultaneously.

Difference Between During and While
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272638612703645
  2. https://journals.lww.com/neuroreport/Fulltext/2003/05230/An_fMRI_study_with_written_Chinese.11.aspx

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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6 thoughts on “During vs While: Difference and Comparison”

  1. I already knew the differences, but it was nice to go through them. The article is perfect for those who struggle with grammar.


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