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While and whilst - English Grammar Today - Cambridge Dictionary

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Adjectives and adverbs
about adjectives and adverbs
Adjectives Adjectives: forms Adjectives: order Adverbs Adverbs and adverb phrases: position Adverbs and adverb phrases: typical errors Adverbs: forms Adverbs: functions Adverbs: types
Afraid Alike Hard Long Only Same, similar, identical
adjective and adverb phrases
Adjective phrases Adjective phrases: functions Adjective phrases: position Adjectives and adjective phrases: typical errors Adverb phrases
common adverbs
Even Eventually Hardly Hopefully Largely Likely and unlikely Surely Too Ultimately
comparatives and superlatives
Comparison: adjectives (bigger, biggest, more interesting) Comparison: adverbs (worse, more easily)
adverbs of degree
Fairly Intensifiers (very, at all) Much, a lot, lots, a good deal: adverbs Pretty Quite Rather Really Scarcely Very
adverbs of place and movement
Abroad Away and away from Back Inside Nearby Outside Up
adverbs of time and frequency
About Ago Already Always Early Ever Hardly ever, rarely, scarcely, seldom Next No longer, not any longer No more, not any more Now Often Once as an adverb Soon Still Then Usually
Easily confused words
Above or over? Across, over or through? Advice or advise? Affect or effect? All or every? All or whole? Allow, permit or let? Almost or nearly? Alone, lonely, or lonesome? Along or alongside? Already, still or yet? Also, as well or too? Alternate(ly), alternative(ly) Although or though? Altogether or all together? Amount of, number of or quantity of? Any more or anymore? Anyone, anybody or anything? Apart from or except for? Arise or rise? Around or round? Arouse or rouse? As or like? As, because or since? As, when or while? Been or gone? Begin or start? Beside or besides? Between or among? Born or borne? Bring, take and fetch Can, could or may? Classic or classical? Come or go? Consider or regard? Consist, comprise or compose? Content or contents? Different from, different to or different than? Do or make? Down, downwards or downward? During or for? Each or every? East or eastern; north or northern? Economic or economical? Efficient or effective? Elder, eldest or older, oldest? End or finish? Especially or specially? Every one or everyone? Except or except for? Expect, hope or wait? Experience or experiment? Fall or fall down? Far or a long way?
Farther, farthest or further, furthest?
Further (but not farther)
Fast, quick or quickly? Fell or felt? Female or feminine; male or masculine? Finally, at last, lastly or in the end? First, firstly or at first? Fit or suit? Following or the following? For or since? Forget or leave? Full or filled? Fun or funny? Get or go? Grateful or thankful? Hear or listen (to)? High or tall? Historic or historical? House or home? How is …? or What is … like? If or when? If or whether? Ill or sick? Imply or infer? In the way or on the way? It’s or its? Late or lately? Lay or lie? Lend or borrow? Less or fewer? Look at, see or watch? Low or short? Man, mankind or people? Maybe or may be? Maybe or perhaps? Nearest or next? Never or not … ever? Nice or sympathetic? No doubt or without doubt? No or not? Nowadays, these days or today? Open or opened? Opportunity or possibility? Opposite or in front of? Other, others, the other or another? Out or out of? Permit or permission? Person, persons or people? Pick or pick up? Play or game? Politics, political, politician or policy? Price or prize? Principal or principle? Quiet or quite? Raise or rise? Remember or remind? Right or rightly? Rob or steal? Say or tell? So that or in order that? Sometimes or sometime? Sound or noise? Speak or talk? Such or so? There, their or they’re? Towards or toward? Wait or wait for? Wake, wake up or awaken? Worth or worthwhile?
Nouns, pronouns and determiners
about nouns
Age Comparison: nouns (more money, the most points) Gender Piece words and group words Nouns Nouns and gender Nouns and prepositions Nouns: compound nouns Nouns: countable and uncountable Nouns: form Nouns: forming nouns from other words Nouns: singular and plural
common nouns
Half Holiday and holidays Mind as a noun Opinion Reason Reported speech: reporting nouns Sort, type and kind View as a noun Way Work (noun)
A/an and the Determiners and types of noun Determiners used as pronouns Determiners: position and order Determiners: typical errors Possession (John’s car, a friend of mine) Such as a determiner This, that, these, those
noun phrases
Noun phrases Noun phrases: complements Noun phrases: noun phrases and verbs Noun phrases: order Noun phrases: two noun phrases together Noun phrases: uses
Each other, one another Everyone, everybody, everything, everywhere It No one, nobody, nothing, nowhere One One and one’s Pronouns Pronouns: indefinite (-body, -one, -thing, -where) Pronouns: one, you, we, they Pronouns: personal (I, me, you, him, it, they, etc.) Pronouns: possessive (my, mine, your, yours, etc.) Pronouns: reflexive (myself, themselves, etc.) Questions: interrogative pronouns (what, who) Relative pronouns Someone, somebody, something, somewhere That
A bit All Any Either Enough Least, the least, at least Less Little, a little, few, a few Lots, a lot, plenty Many More Most, the most, mostly Much, many, a lot of, lots of: quantifiers No, none and none of Plenty Some Some and any
question words
What When Where Which Who, whom Whole Whose Why
uncountable nouns
Accommodation Equipment Furniture Information News Progress Stuff Weather
Prepositions and particles
After as a preposition and conjunction After or afterwards as an adverb
Against Among and amongst At At, in and to (movement) At, on and in (place) At, on and in (time)
Below referring forward in writing
Beneath: meaning and use Beyond By + myself etc. During For For + -ing From In front of In spite of and despite In, into
Near and near to
Near as an adjective
Of On, onto
Over as a preposition Over: typical errors Over as a prefix Over as an adjective: be over Over as an adverb
Prepositional phrases Prepositions
To: the to-infinitive
Until as a conjunction
Within: space Within: time
Words, sentences and clauses
about words, clauses and sentences
Abbreviations, initials and acronyms Adjuncts Apposition Clause types Clauses Clauses and sentences Clauses: finite and non-finite Collocation Complements Dummy subjects Ellipsis Fronting Heads Objects Promise Sentences Subject complements Subjects Subject–verb agreement Word classes and phrase classes
as and as expressions
Asas As if and as though As long as and so long as As well (as) As
comparing and contrasting
Comparison: clauses (bigger than we had imagined) Comparison: comparisons of equality (as tall as his father) Contrasts
conditionals and wishes
Conditionals: if Conditionals Conditionals: other expressions (unless, should, as long as) Conditionals: typical errors If only In case (of) It’s time Suppose, supposing and what if Unless
linking words and expressions
And Because, because of and cos, cos of Before Both … and as a linking expression But Conjunctions Conjunctions: adding Conjunctions: causes, reasons, results and purpose Conjunctions: contrasting Conjunctions: time Eitheror If In order to Or Since Whereas Whether While and whilst Yet
questions and negative sentences
How Negation Neither, neither … nor and not … either Not Questions Questions: alternative questions (Is it black or grey?) Questions: statement questions (you’re over 18?) Questions: two-step questions Questions: typical errors Questions: wh-questions Questions: yes-no questions (Are you feeling cold?)
relative clauses
Relative clauses Relative clauses referring to a whole sentence Relative clauses: defining and non-defining Relative clauses: typical errors
reported speech
Reported speech Reported speech: direct speech Reported speech: indirect speech
so and such
So and not with expect, hope, think, etc. Such as
word formation
-ish and -y Compound words Diminutives (-let, -y and mini-) Hyphens Luck and lucky Prefixes Suffixes Word formation
word order and focus
Cleft sentences (It was in June we got married.) Inversion Made from, made of, made out of, made with No sooner Not only … but also Word order and focus Word order: structures
Using English
discourse markers
Adverbs as discourse markers (anyway, finally) Anyway Discourse markers (so, right, okay) In fact Okay, OK Well You know You see
emphasising and downtoning
Downtoners Exclamations Hedges (just) Hyperbole
Commands and instructions Commentaries Congratulating and celebrating hello, goodbye, Happy New Year Invitations Offers Please and thank you Politeness Requests Suggestions Telephoning Warnings
Area: length, width, depth and height Number Time
people and places
Geographical places Names and titles: addressing people Nationalities, languages, countries and regions Place names Sexist language
Adverbs as short responses (definitely, certainly) All right and alright Chunks as frames Headers and tails Here and there Interjections (ouch, hooray) Intonation Just Kind of and sort of Oh Pronunciation Question: follow-up questions Questions: echo and checking questions Questions: short forms So: other uses in speaking Substitution Tags Yes
types of English (formal, informal, etc.)
British and American English Dialect Double negatives and usage Formal and informal language Newspaper headlines Register Slang Standard and non-standard language Swearing and taboo expressions
useful phrases
According to Actual and actually Approximations (around four o’clock) At all Else Hear that, see that However, whatever, whichever, whenever, wherever, whoever May as well and might as well More or less Of course Point of view Vague expressions
Apostrophe (’) Contractions Detached impersonal style Internet discourse and text messages It, this and that in paragraphs Paragraphs Punctuation Speech into writing Spelling Dates
about verbs
Finite and non-finite verbs Table of irregular verbs Verb phrases Verbs Verbs and verb phrases: typical errors Verbs: basic forms Verbs: formation Verbs: multi-word verbs Verbs: types
be and be expressions
Be Be expressions ( be able to, be due to)
common verbs
Appear Arrive Ask and ask for Come Do Enable Enjoy Explain Get Go Happen Hate, like, love and prefer Have Have got and have Hope Know Let, let’s Like Look Make Marry and divorce Matter Mean Miss Need Own Prefer Put See Seem Suggest Take Think Want Wish
Future: other expressions to talk about the future Future: be going to(I am going to work)? Future Future continuous (I will be working) Future in the past Future perfect continuous (I will have beenworking here ten years) Future perfect simple (I will have worked eight hours) Future: present continuous to talk about the future (I’m working tomorrow) Future: present simple to talk aboutthe future (I work tomorrow) Future: typical errors Future: will and shall Going to
infinitives and imperatives
Imperative clauses (Be quiet!) Infinitive: active or passive? Infinitives with and without to
modals and modality
Can Could Could, may and might Dare Had better May Might Modality: forms Modality: introduction Modality: meanings and uses Modality: other modal words and expressions Modality: other verbs Modality: tense Must Ought to Shall Should Will Would
Get passive Have something done Passive
Past Past continuous (I was working) Past continuous or past simple? Past perfect continuous (I had been working) Past perfect simple (I had worked) Past perfect simple or past perfect continuous? Past perfect simple or past simple? Past simple (I worked) Past simple or present perfect? Past verb forms referring to the present Past: typical errors Used to
Present Present continuous (I am working) Present perfect continuous (I have been working) Present perfect simple (I have worked) Present perfect simple or present perfect continuous? Present perfect: typical errors Present simple (I work) Present simple or present continuous? Present verb forms referring to the past Present: typical errors
verb patterns
Hear, see, etc. + object + infinitive or -ing Help somebody (to) do Look forward to Stop + -ing form or to-infinitive Verb patterns: verb + infinitive or verb + -ing? Verb patterns: verb + that-clause Verb patterns: with and without objects Would like Would rather, would sooner
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While and whilst

Grammar > Words, sentences and clauses > Conjunctions and linking words > While and whilst
from English Grammar Today

While or whilst?

While and whilst mean the same when we use them as conjunctions. They both mean ‘during the time that something else happens’, or ‘in contrast with something else’. While is much more common than whilst, and whilst sounds more formal:

Would you like something to eat while we’re waiting? (less common: whilst we’re waiting?) (during the time we’re waiting)

British English prefers an ‘s’ for words like realise, organise and industrialise, while American English prefers ‘z’ (realize, organize, industrialize). (less common: whilst American English prefers ‘z’ …) (expressing a contrast between British and American English)

See also:

While or when?

While (or whilst) means ‘during the time when something else happens’. When can mean the same as while, but when can also refer to a point in time.


during the time something happens

a point in time

The phone rang while/when we were having dinner.

When the phone rang, she answered it immediately.

Not: While the phone rang …

While as a noun

A while means ‘an unspecified period of time’:

We spent a while looking at the boats in the harbour before going for lunch.

I haven’t seen Andrew for a while. I wonder if he’s okay.

It’s a long while since anyone lived in that house – maybe ten years. It’s a ruin now.

Typical error

  • While does not mean the same as when:

Always keep some change with you. It’s useful when buying a bus ticket.

Not: … while buying a bus ticket.

When I came home, I made some dinner then watched TV.

Not: While I came home …

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