Practice English Speaking&Listening with: During / While / Meanwhile - How to use them in English

Difficulty: 0

Today we're doing the difference between during and while and later meanwhile

They all mean "At the same time" or "In the middle of another action"

but we use them in different ways

let me give you an example

We'll start with duringdʒʊərɪŋ) or duringdjʊərɪŋ)

both pronunciations are fine

doesn't matter how you pronounce it

but in a sentence there must be a noun after the word "During"

I pronounce it ˈdʒʊərɪŋ

For example I want to say

I hate people who talk in the middle of movies

it's very annoying don't do it

but I replace "in the middle of" with "during"

it means the same thing

and after we have that noun: "movies"

That's perfect! This is a good sentence! It's great!

You're beautiful!

Beautiful sentence

But how about "while"? It means the same thing

Can I replace "During" with "While"?

No! If I say "I hate people who talk while movies"

this is a rubbish sentence

you can't say that

so how do we use while

With "while" you need a clause

A subject and a verb, a sentence

so let's imagine you're in bed, you're trying to sleep

and then all of a sudden


you hear a loud noise

so in the middle of trying to sleep

you heard a noise, there was an interruption

while I was trying to sleep I heard a noise

and it doesn't matter where you put this sentence

it could be first it could be after like

I heard a noise while I was trying to sleep

That's fine it doesn't matter where you put it

also notice the subject is the same in both sentences

While I was trying to sleep, I heard a noise

In this case you don't need to repeat the subject (ONLY REMOVE SUBJECT IN CONTINUOUS FORMS!)

In the "While" sentence

so we could have

"While trying..."

we'd actually remove the BE verb for continuous tenses

Doesn't matter if it's WAS in past continuous or IS in present

and the subject of course if it's the same

so it could read

"While trying to sleep, I heard a noise"

Or of course

"I heard a noise while trying to sleep"

That's fine too


if you remove the subject and the BE verb (AGAIN, ONLY REMOVE SUBJECT IN CONTINUOUS FORMS)

then it definitely definitely sounds more formal

so keep that in mind if you're trying to speak formally that sounds great

but in casual conversation it's much more common not to do that

I would more commonly say

"Oh my god last night while I was trying to sleep I heard a noise...

...and it made me cry"

Should we use WHILE only with continuous tenses?

No not necessarily

Let me give you an example

"I played drums while she slept"

this is not a continuous tense

this is a past simple

How about a present simple? Let's try that!

"She eats ice cream while I work"

or the other way

"While I work, she just eats ice cream"

This is a present simple tense

so it doesn't have to be past

doesn't have to be past continuous

it can be anything

just know that WHILE means "In the middle of THIS, THIS happens"

or "At the same time as THIS, THIS happens"

that's how you use

But how about "Meanwhile"? is that the same thing it sounds the same

How do I use that?

Well this also means "at the same time" but more commonly it's used to

talk about two different locations, two completely different subjects

For example:

In one city Superman was flying and saving the world

at the same time in a different city

Or we could say MEANWHILE!

Remember "Meanwhile" means "at the same time"

but in a different thing

Superman was flying and saving the world

meanwhile in Gotham (in a different place)

Batman was crying


I hope you enjoyed today's lesson

Tell me in the comments: Why was Batman crying?

Also try to make your own sentences using during, while, and meanwhile

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I'll see you in the next class

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