During vs While
Since during and while are two of the many English words that pose a problem of sorts for those who do not understand them well, this article presents to you the difference between during and while. For people whose first language is not English, this problem of not understanding where to use during and where to use while creates many awkward circumstances. Since both of these words during and while are often used in English language people often make mistakes in using them. Both these words describe an activity that is taking place while another is happening. However, there is a proper way of usage of these words that should be followed.
What does During mean?
Check the following sentence.
……… my stay at the hospital, the nurses looked after me well.
In this sentence, it is quite obvious that it is during that has to be used as while my stay would look incorrect. During connotes a specific period, as in during summers and during the world cup. Moreover, during is a preposition. It is actually easier to understand the use of during because it is a preposition that is used for a specific purpose. According to the Oxford English dictionary, during carries the meaning “throughout the course or duration of (a period of time).” This definition shows that during can be used only for a specific purpose. In addition, here is a small fact about the history of the word during. The word during has its origin in Late Middle English.
What does While mean?
On the other hand, while is used only when it is followed by a clause and the word while itself follows a noun. For example,
I was writing while I was in the class.
One should not forget that while is a conjunction. In the above example, you can see that while is followed by a clause (or a sentence). The use of the word while in a sentence becomes confusing only when it is used in a sentence as a conjunction. Now, other than being used as conjunction, the word while is also used as a noun, verb, adverb as well as a preposition. However, using while as a preposition is done when it is used in Northern English.
What is the difference between During and While?
• Both during and while represent two things happening at the same time but during is a preposition and while is a conjunction.
• While is followed by a sentence or a clause. On the other hand, during is followed by a noun.
• Verb and subject follow while. In the case of during, it is the other event taking place that is described.
It is clear then that during and while cannot be used interchangeably. However, the other word can be used after making suitable changes in the structure of the sentence. For example, in the sentence
I was recuperating while I was in the hospital,
you can substitute during by changing the sentence in the following manner.
I was recuperating during the time I was in the hospital.