Site Overlay

Whilst vs. While: Is There A Difference Between Them?

Whilst and While differ from each other in the slightest way possible but the difference is still significant. In this blog, we will explain to you the difference between the two and the easiest way to know it.

Whilst vs. While: Is There A Difference Between Them? | English Medium

What Is The Difference Between Whilst And While?

The differences between these words are slight but important ones. One is regional and one is grammatical. 

First, British English uses whilst as a conjunction synonymous with while, although, and notwithstanding. Conversely, US English considers whilst outdated and even pretentious, so it uses while instead. Second, while can also be a noun and a verb but whilst can’t.

Therefore, if you’re using them as a conjunction or in an adverb phrase, while and whilst are interchangeable. But, if you need a noun or a verb, you can only use while. 

How Do You Use While In A Sentence?

Now that we have briefly discussed how each one is used, let us understand the uses of while in depth. 

While can be used as a conjunction in a sentence to show that two events occur at the same time. 

Example: 

  1. “I walked while she ran.”
  2. “We must have been burgled while we were asleep.”
  3. “I fell asleep while I was watching television.”

While can also be used as although for a contrast or contradiction. 

Example: 

  1. “While I understand your point, I still disagree with you.”
  2. “While I like all types of fish, my girlfriend always chooses meat dishes when we go out to eat.”
  3. “We would always choose somewhere in the mountains for a holiday, while our children always want the seaside.”

How Do You Use Whilst In A Sentence?

Use whilst as a conjunction to join two independent clauses, especially when describing simultaneous and continuous events (Eg: She played the piano whilst I sang). Since whilst is a subordinating conjunction, you can use it to begin a subordinate clause, especially when contrasting or contradicting (Eg: Whilst he can go, I prefer for him to stay). As an adverb, whilst describes a verb. Remember, whilst is best suited for British English, as American English speakers tend to find this word outdated.

A few more examples: 

  1. Laura scrubbed the dishes, whilst her roommate mopped the floor.
  2. Whilst Jack enjoys the opera, he can’t stand musicals.

When Should you use Whilst vs. While?

Use while instead of whilst when the word functions as a noun or verb. Although while and whilst can both be conjunctions or part of an adverb phrase, only while can be a noun and a verb. As a noun, while describes a period of time (Eg: Rest for a while). As a verb, while means to cause something to pass in an enjoyable way. What’s more, when while is a verb, it’s usually followed by the word “away” (Eg: We whiled away the rainy days with games inside).

Hopefully, this article has given you enough clarification on the difference between whilst and while. In case you have any further queries, feel free to write to us at mehak@englishmedium.in

Copyright © 2022 English Medium. All Rights Reserved. | SimClick by Catch Themes