Confusing words: during, for, while
Confusing during, for and while is a common learner error. Let’s look at the difference and then do a quick exercise.
During is a preposition. We use it to talk about a period of time.
During is followed by a noun:
during the night
during our holiday
during their marriage
during the concert.
- I woke up three times during the night.
- There was a massive thunderstorm during the concert. NOT
while the concert
- I met a lot of interesting people during my time in New York.
We use for to say how long something happened, has been happening, or will be happening.
For is a preposition.
- He was at work for ten hours yesterday. NOT
- I’ve lived here for five years. NOT
during five years
- I’m going to watch TV for an hour. NOT
during an hour
While is a conjunction and means ‘when’ or ‘at the same time’. We use while with a verb structure:
while I was living
while I lived
while living NOT
while I was.
- The doorbell rang while we were having dinner. NOT
during we were having dinner
- You shouldn’t use a mobile phone while driving a car. NOT
during driving a car
- I met a lot of interesting people while I was in New York.
Here’s a quick exercise for you to test yourself on during, for and while.
See more: Confusing Words