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    #1

    meanwhile doing something

    Dear teachers,
    Is there anything wrong with the use of "meanwhile" followed by a -ing form in the following sentence?

    I intended to include more information in this sentence, meanwhile making a contrast between the past life and present life.

    I want to use this sentence in my letter to an American teacher. I consulted my dictionaries but I failed to make sure of the correctness of "meanwhile doing something". I googled it and I also failed in this attempt. But my instinct tells me that it may be right. Please help me with it. And you are also welcome to point out other possible mistakes in the above sentence and even revise the whole sentence for me. For this letter is very important to me.
    Thanks in advance.
    Richard


    • Join Date: Aug 2009
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    #2

    Re: meanwhile doing something

    Quote Originally Posted by ohmyrichard View Post
    Dear teachers,
    Is there anything wrong with the use of "meanwhile" followed by a -ing form in the following sentence?

    I intended to include more information in this sentence, meanwhile making a contrast between the past life and present life.

    I want to use this sentence in my letter to an American teacher. I consulted my dictionaries but I failed to make sure of the correctness of "meanwhile doing something". I googled it and I also failed in this attempt. But my instinct tells me that it may be right. Please help me with it. And you are also welcome to point out other possible mistakes in the above sentence and even revise the whole sentence for me. For this letter is very important to me.
    Thanks in advance.
    Richard
    I think "while" is a better word in this context than "meanwhile."

    I intended to include more information in this sentence, while making a contrast between the past life and present life.

    I also think you should change "between the past life and present life" to:
    between the past life and the present life

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    #3

    Re: meanwhile doing something

    Quote Originally Posted by Ann1977 View Post
    I think "while" is a better word in this context than "meanwhile."

    I intended to include more information in this sentence, while making a contrast between the past life and present life.

    I also think you should change "between the past life and present life" to:
    between the past life and the present life
    Thanks, Ann. I've got a follow-up question for you: Can I simply say "I intended to include more information in this sentence,making a contrast between the past life and present life." without using any conjunction to lead "making a contrast between the past life and present life"?
    Thanks.
    Richard


    • Join Date: Aug 2009
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    #4

    Re: meanwhile doing something

    Quote Originally Posted by ohmyrichard View Post
    Thanks, Ann. I've got a follow-up question for you: Can I simply say "I intended to include more information in this sentence,making a contrast between the past life and present life." without using any conjunction to lead "making a contrast between the past life and present life"?
    Thanks.
    Richard
    Yes. It is grammatical but it shifts the meaning.

    (1) Using "meanwhile" suggests that there are two different activities going on at the same time:
    - including more information
    - while at the same time, also making a contrast
    The problem with "meanwhile" is that it implies that there are two different locations for these simultaneous activities:
    "The bad guy was tying Pauline to the railroad tracks! And the train was coming!
    Meanwhile, back at the ranch ...."


    (2) I think that "while" is more neutral about when all this is going to happen -- not stressing so much the idea of simultaneous (but geographically separated) activities. Its meaning is close to "also" in this context. So saying "I will include more information while making a contrast" means that you will be doing both of these two things:
    - including more information
    - making the contrast

    (3) Omitting "while" turns the sentence into an assertion that including the information IS making that contrast. It now says that you are going to make the contrast by including more information. This suggests that there is only one thing you will be doing (making the contrast) and the way you will do it is by including more information.

    Which one you should choose depends on which one you mean. They're both fine, but they're not identical in connotation.

    "He sang a song while drinking a glass of water."
    - This means that he could do a stunt. He could sing songs and drink water at the same time.

    "He sang a song drinking a glass of water."
    - This means that his gulps and slurps sounded like a song.


    However, the differences are slight, and I don't think people are going to consciously pick up on anything odd no matter which one you choose -- at least, not in meaning. One phrase or another may fit more smoothly, perhaps, and the reader may notice an awkwardness in a phrase.

    But generally the reader will let you state your meaning, and suspend judgment while you say what you want to say. If in the long run it turns out that you didn't exactly say what you mean, by then the reader has forgotten the subtle distinctions anyway.
    Last edited by Ann1977; 11-Oct-2009 at 17:31.

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    #5

    Re: meanwhile doing something

    Basically,

    meanwhile is an adverb. That is used to modify a sentence.

    meantime is a noun, meaning 'at the same time'. It is usually used in a phrase 'in the meantime' or 'for the meantime'.

    while is usually used as a conjunction to connect two sentences.

    For more info, I just wrote a full post about meanwhile and meantime

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