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The difference between “while” and “while”

The difference between“while“y“while“

“While“y“while“they are interchangeable in the UK but not in the US. If you are American, use“while“.

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More about“While“and“Whilst“

Americans find“while“picturesque, old-fashioned or literary. Most Britons, on the other hand, will happily swap between“while“y“while“, though some Britons also find“while“a bit dated.

Is There a Difference between“While“and“Whilst“?

Grammarians often discuss two differences between“while“y“while“, but neither of these ideas is well supported. However, for completeness, here they are:

Claimed Difference 1: The time factor. Some grammarians involved in the debate“while-while“They claim that, in the sense of“during the time that“o“at the same time that“,“while“should be used for a short period of time, and“while“should be used for a longer period of time. For example:

  • Swim while the weather permits.
    (Some claim you should use“while“for a long period of time.)
  • Swim whilst the tide is rising.
    (They also claim you should use“whilst“for a short period of time.)

Based on this idea, they state that“while“it is like“when“y“while“it is like“during“. Some even try to formalize this idea a bit more, claiming that“while“must be used with the past progressive tense. For example:

  • While she was swimming, the seagulls stole her lunch.
    (“Was swimming“is an example of the past progressive tense.)

(Claimed Difference 2) The“Although“Issue. Of course,“while“y“while“they can also mean“though“. For example:

  • While/whilst I am a strong swimmer, I will not enter these waters.

Algunos afirman que, cuando quieres decir“though“, can only be used“while“. But, you will also hear it said that only“while“can be used for“though“. Neither of these claims is well supported, and“while“y“while“they are also interchangeable in this meaning.

“While“As a Noun or Verb

“While“y“while“they are not always interchangeable. They are only interchangeable when used as conjunctions (ie in the meanings described above).

“While“it can also be a noun or a verb.“While“can not. As a noun,“while“means“a period of time“. As a verb, it means“hang out“(usually at a leisurely pace). For example:

  • I lived there for a while.
    (Here,“while“is a noun.)
  • She used to while away the hours in the meadow.
    (In this example,“while“is a verb.)

It’s Different for Americans, Australians, Brits, and Canadians

Advice to Canadians and Americans: Use“while“unless you’re trying to add a sense of the old.

Advice to Brits and Australians: Use whatever you want, but if you need to play it safe, use“while“unless you deliberately want to add an old-fashioned feel.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that“while“y“while“are interchangeable (if you can live with the risk that most or a few of your readers will find“while“obsolete).

The final advice: If you’re not sure which to use, choose“while“.

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