During or while?

During or while?

During or While?

I ate popcorn while I was watching the movie.

I ate popcorn during the movie.

Both of the above sentences work and express the same situation. Do you know when to use during or while? This post will explain the difference.


During is used to describe actions that occur at the same time. It is a preposition, therefore a noun must come after it. Here are some examples:


During the game (noun), I twisted my foot.

She called me during the presentation (noun), so I couldn’t answer.

Dave likes to be at home during thunderstorms (noun).


While is also used to describe actions that occur at the same time. However, since it’s a conjunction, it is followed by a subject and a verb. Below are some examples:


While I (subject) was watching (verb) the game, I received a text from my friend.

Mary was playing the piano while I (subject) was cooking (verb).

While Mark (subject) sang (verb), Mary played the piano.

Compare during and while

During the night, he was snoring loudly.While I was trying to sleep, he was snoring loudly.
She was texting during the train ride.She was texting while she was riding the train.
Mark was telling jokes during dinner.Mark was telling jokes while we were eating dinner.