Rodolfo Rodrigues
Is there any difference between Whilst, Whereas and While? Provided these three words mean the same, I don't think there is a huge difference between them, if so, would anyone be able to show or explain what are they? For example: I was watching TV while they were hanging out in the backyard. There were three guys running to school whilst was waiting for my girlfriend inside my car. I can listen English podcasts whereas I'm going to work. Thanks in advance.
Oct 30, 2017 11:55 AM
Answers · 3
"Whilst" = while but there is no need to use "whilst": it is more formal and much less common than "while". "While" has two usages. See these examples: a) I saw my friend while (I was) driving my car. [You can omit "I was" because it's obvious] Two things are happening at the same time. b) Every day, I drive to work while my friend usually goes to work on foot. Simple contrast. You can replaced "while" with "whereas" in b) but not a). "Whereas" is more limited in use and much more formal. In practice, we would never use "whereas" for the situation described in b), but rather in academic or other formal situations.
October 30, 2017
Hi Rodolfo, While "while" can be used to indicate synchronicity and contrast, "whereas" can only be used for the latter. Thus, your last example would have to be something like: "I can stay at home and listen to podcasts, whereas you have to go to work and make money" - "I X whereas I Y" sounds (logically) wrong to me. "while" can be used for synchronicity and by extension for contrast (so both "I can listen to English podcasts while I am going to work" and "I can listen to podcasts while you cannot" are OK). Actually, there is a slight difference between "while" and whereas even when used for contrast. "While" really means at the same time, so you can also use it for mild contrasts like "while I don't care too much for podcasts, I listen to them once in a while" (whereas does not fit here). "Whereas" is closer to "on the other hand": "You love podcasts whereas I don't." (while would be OK here, too). So, they can be synonyms in some cases, but not always. When in doubt, use while ;-). "whilst" is indeed a synonym of "while" - it sounds rather archaic / literary to me, but that may also be a regional question ... Cheers, Aurelio
October 30, 2017
They can all be used interchangeably, but "while" and "whilst" can also mean "during the time that..."
October 30, 2017
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Rodolfo Rodrigues
Language Skills
English, Portuguese
Learning Language