While (conjunction)

While has three different functions when it is used as a conjunction. It can:

  • refer to time
  • express contrast
  • be a synonym for although.
While shows us that something happens at the same time something else is happening.
synonym: when

I fell asleep while I was watching television.
(= 'I fell asleep in the middle of watching television.')

It didn't rain at all while we were on holiday.
(= 'It didn't rain during our holiday.')
We use while with the present continuous and past continuous tenses to show longer actions which are interrupted:

It started raining while I was waiting for the bus. (past continuous)
The phone always rings while I'm having a shower. (present continuous)
We also use while with the present simple and past simple tenses:

My wife walked the dog while I washed the car. [past simple]
I'll tidy the house while you are at work. [present simple]

Be careful we do not use will after while when speaking about the future:

I'll tidy the house while you will be at work.


  1. Areeya Malaniyom - September 27, 2015, 9:41 am Reply

    As a language teacher, I would like to improve myself all the time of modern English so that I can share with my students.

  2. Fawad Qadery - October 25, 2016, 5:10 am Reply

    Using while in conditional sentence; is below sentence correct or not?
    A company can be successful while it has marketing strategy. (should we use WHEN instead of WHILE or it’s ok?)

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