While is generally used to describe things that happen at the same time, but can also be used to
mean as long as and until.
Ex: While you were sleeping, I cleaned the entire house. It's never been this clean, or at least it hasn't
in the time I've lived here. Isn't it amazing?
Ex: I started gathering firewood, kindling, and tinder while Jim prepared the fish we'd caught for
grilling. We'd soon be eating a delicious fish supper!
Ex: My father told me that while I was living in his house, I would have to live by his rules. I guess I can
live with that if I have to.
As is similar to while, but not completely interchangeable, referring generally to things that happen at
the same instant of time, with the additional sense of change over time.
Ex: As I was walking in the front door, Marie was walking out the side door. Somehow, we missed each
Ex: Many people use the old saying, "Nero fiddles as Rome burns" without knowing that it has no basis
in fact. Fiddles didn't exist in Roman times.
Ex: As the days went by and the cat came no closer to catching it, the mouse seemed to grow bolder
with each trip out of its mousehole, even stealing a piece of cheese right off the table!
Meanwhile has the same meaning as while, but is generally only used at the beginning of a new
sentence after a sentence that establishes the first activity. It can sometimes suggest that the second
activity is happening elsewhere.
Ex: My brother was angry all morning, and took out his frustration in cleaning the house. Meanwhile, I
was out in the shed, playing my guitar and trying to stay out of his way.
Ex: My sister was carving the turkey, carefully slicing it as thinly as possible. Meanwhile, I was making
the gravy. We make a good team.