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The difference between ‘when’ and ‘while’

Finished watching the lesson, how it’s time to see how much you have learned from this spoken English lesson and if you have understood the difference between the words when and while correctly.


1. I was cleaning the house __________ you were sleeping.

 
 

2. I arrived home __________ all the guests were having tea.

 
 

3. ________ she was a little girl, she played with dolls.

 
 

4. ____________ I dropped the vase, it broke into pieces.

 
 

5. ______ I buy the bread, you can go to the butcher’s.

 
 

6. _________ you called, he picked up his mobile phone.

 
 

7. We were complaining about the weather ______________ the sun broke through the clouds.

 
 

8. We were watching a movie _____________ the screen went blank.

 
 

9. Don’t disturb me ____________ I’m listening to music.

 
 

10. He was cancelling his flight _________ we called him.

 
 

Question 1 of 10


In this Spoken English lesson, you are going to learn the difference between when and while. Often people get confused when using these two words.Finished watching the video, now it’s time to check how much you have learned from this spoken English lesson. Take the quiz below.

When: is used to say a longer action was interrupted by a shorter action.

Example: I was reading when he called.

When: is used to express ‘at that time’ or ‘at that moment’

Example: I like to wear casuals when I’m on a holiday.

When: is used when a short action is immediately followed by another short action.

Example: He came out when the bell rang.

When: is used to talk about a specific age or period of life.

Example: When I was a child, we lived in London.

‘While’ is used to talk about two ling actions happening at the same time.

Example: She was surfing the internet while I was cooking.

Example: He was driving while I was listening to music.

‘While’ can’t be used to talk about a specific age or period of life.

Example: While I was a child, we lived in London. (incorrect)

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