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Thread: while or when

  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    while or when

    Would you like something to eat while we're waiting?

    Is it possible to use "when" instead of of "while" in the above sentence?

    Thanks for your help.

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    #2

    Re: while or when

    It's possible you might hear non-native speakers say it.

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    #3

    Re: while or when

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    It's possible you might hear non-native speakers say it.
    Thanks Rover

    Do you mean native speakers do not say "when" in the above context?

  4. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: while or when

    Quote Originally Posted by Winwin2011 View Post
    Thanks Rover

    Do you mean native speakers do not say "when" in the above context?
    It's not a natural thing to say.

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    #5

    Re: while or when

    Yes – that's what I mean.

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    #6

    Re: while or when

    Thanks, bhai and Rover.

    The followings are quoted from "English Grammar Today" Cambridge:

    While means 'during the time when something else happens'. When can mean the same as while, but when can also refer to a point in time.

    during the time something happens
    The phone rang while/when we were having dinner.

    a point in time
    When the phone rang, she answered it immediately.
    Not: While the phone rang......

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I am confused because the book said 'When can mean the same as while'. Do I misunderstand the meaning in the above context? What does 'a point in time' mean?

    Could anybody help, please?

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    #7

    Re: while or when

    Quote Originally Posted by Winwin2011 View Post
    I am confused because the book said 'When can mean the same as while'. Do I misunderstand the meaning in the above context? What does 'a point in time' mean?
    When can mean the same as while but when and while are not always interchangeable. Take a look here.
    Last edited by Chicken Sandwich; 21-Jun-2013 at 14:13.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #8

    Re: while or when

    The point of them saying that "when can mean the same as while" is to make it clear that it's a possibility. If they always meant the same, it would read "When means the same as while".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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