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    • Join Date: May 2008
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    whilst or while?

    Are whilst or while interchangeable?

  1. banderas's Avatar
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      • Native Language:
      • Polish
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    • Join Date: Mar 2008
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    Re: whilst or while?

    Quote Originally Posted by Claire Haywood View Post
    Are whilst or while interchangeable?
    Thereís no difference in meaning between them. For reasons that arenít clear, whilst has survived in British English but has died out in the US. However, in Britain it is considered to be a more formal and literary word.
    Whilst might mean "when" used in conditionals.

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 8

    Re: whilst or while?


    "He was eating a hamburger while driving in his car" is American English, and
    "He was eating a hamburger whilst driving in his car" is British English?

    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409

    Re: whilst or while?

    As mentioned by banderas, 'whilst' has a more formal and literary quality. As such, even in Britain (perhaps the posh South-East excepted) you won't here this substituted for 'while' in the sense of 'during'. So 'driving a car' and 'whilst' doing so 'eating a hamburger' is too mundane a situation - all that runny tomato sauce - for even a Britisher to come at.

    However, with 'while' meaning 'despite the fact that'; 'although'
    then 'whilst' might still be more commonly heard. Who wants to say the mouthful, "Despite the fact that he has many faults' when you can have, "Whilst he has many faults,...." -
    'although' is such an overused word, it's pleasant to be able to vary one's conversation and throw in a 'whilst' every now and then.
    Whilst I accept that he's not perfect in many respects, I do actually quite like the man.
    Whilst I appreciate your point of view, I do also have some sympathy with...

    Good conversation in good company and most acceptable!

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 8

    Re: whilst or while?

    Thank you. I didn't know it was that complicated, but I understand now.

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