Difference Between During and While

Main Difference – During vs While

Both while and during are words that are used to indicate time. They both indicate two actions or events happening at the same time. However, there is a difference between while and during based on their grammatical category and usage. While is a conjunction, which is used to connect two clauses together. During is a preposition, which is used before a noun or pronoun. This is the main difference between during and while.Difference Between During and While - infographic

During – Meaning and Usage

During is a preposition that is used to indicate a period of time. It also indicates actions or events that are happening at the same time. We can use during before an activity to indicate that a parallel action is happening at the same time as that activity. Since during is a preposition, it is used before a noun or a pronoun. You can observe these qualities in the following sentences.

He slept during the whole flight.   

In the above sentence, the sleeping happened at the same time as the flight. You can also note that during is used before the noun phrasethe whole flight”.                     

They were giggling loudly during the lecture.

We stayed inside during the storm.

The restaurant is open during the day.

He shot his wife during an argument.

The fire alarm went off during the conference. 

Why were you silent during the meeting?

 I sleep during the day and sleeps at night.

Main Difference - During vs While

While – Meaning and Usage

While is a conjunction that can be used to indicate actions and events that take place at the same time in the present, past and future. Since while is a conjunction, it is always used with clauses. In addition, while can also be used to indicate a contrast. For example, consider the sentence, “He wanted to go to Athens while his wife wanted to go to Paris.” Here, two contrasting sentences which are joined by the conjunction while.

Anna wants to postpone the wedding while Jack wants to bring it forward.

                  Clause 1                                                               Clause 2

We waited in the car while Jack got ready.

My mother likes to listen to music while cooking.

The doorbell rang while you were sleeping.

I waited while she looked at me. 

I met him while I was in college.

Mr. Jackson called while you were out.Difference Between During and While

Difference Between During and While

Part of Speech 

During is a preposition.

While is a conjunction.


During is used before or after a clause.

While is used before a noun or pronoun.


During follows a noun phrase.

While follows a clause.


During cannot combine two clauses. 

While can connect two clauses together. 

Image Courtesy:

“HIDOT ROAD FLOODS DURING HIGH TIDE” (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia 

 “Texting while Driving” By Romy Ilano – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia 

About the Author: Hasa

Hasanthi is a seasoned content writer and editor with over 8 years of experience. Armed with a BA degree in English and a knack for digital marketing, she explores her passions for literature, history, culture, and food through her engaging and informative writing.