During and While: What’s the Difference?

What's the Difference?

Welcome to this online English lesson about when to use "during" and when to use "while." They are similar words, but they're used in different situations. Start by watching this video:


During and while are both used to talk about things occurring at the same time.

During is followed by a noun phrase.

While is followed by an verb phrase


During my vacation, I took lots of pictures - (the noun phrase is "my vacation")
While I was on vacation, I took lots of pictures - (the verb phrase is "I was on vacation")
I drank lots of beer during the game - (the noun phrase is "the game")
I drank lots of beer while watching the game - (the verb phrase is "watching the game").

Now let's test your knowledge with some exercises.

Beginner Exercise:

Fill in the blank with while or during.

1 – ______ waiting for my friend to arrive, I played with my phone.

2 – ______ I talked on the phone, my boyfriend made dinner.

3 – He stared at his smartphone ________ the entire date!

4 – They talked loudly ______ I was trying to fall asleep.

5 – _______ the day, I drink lots of coffee.

Advanced Exercise:

Answer the following questions. In each answer, use either during or while.

Write your answers in the comments below to get personalized feedback.

1 – What do you like to do while you are on vacation?

2 – During your lunch break, do you do anything besides eat?

3 – While talking on the phone, do you multitask?

4 – During the summer, what do you like to do?

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