All of these words describe when two things are happening simultaneously (at the
same time). Let’s start with during and while.
Use during before a noun:
▶️ The people sitting in front of me were talking during the movie.
▶️ My boss seemed to be in a rush; she kept checking her watch during our
Use while before a subject + verb:
▶️ We’ll buy the tickets while you wait in line for the popcorn.
▶️ The doorbell rang while I was taking a shower.
Sometimes, when the subject of the two actions is the same, we eliminate the second
mention of the subject:
▶️ Emily broke her leg while she was playing soccer.
= Emily broke her leg while playing soccer.
▶️ I like to listen to music while I’m exercising.
= I like to listen to music while exercising.
We cannot do this when the subjects of the two actions are different:
▶️ I chopped the vegetables while my brother prepared the meat.
Two different subjects for the actions – “I” and “my brother”
Meanwhile is the same as while, but it is used only at the beginning of a sentence –
and usually when there are two different subjects doing the two actions:
▶️ I was watching TV while my brother was studying.
= I was watching TV. Meanwhile, my brother was studying.
In the meantime usually implies you are doing an action while waiting for
something else to happen.
▶️ I will send you the text for the brochure tomorrow. In the meantime, you can
start working on the graphics.
▶️ Chris will graduate from college next year. In the meantime, he’s saving up
money to buy a house.

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