The question of whether to use 'whilst' or 'while' comes up frequently. So, if you have been wondering which is correct, you are not alone.
If you need a quick answer, here it is:
Now that you have the quick answer look at the rest of the guide for a deeper understanding. You will find valuable information like definitions, usage tips, and sample sentences in it. So, by the time you finish reading this, you should be able to use 'whilst' and 'while' like an expert.
When it comes to the differences between 'whilst' and 'while,' you can use the two interchangeably sometimes because both words have the same meaning, and they can both be conjunctive.
So, how do you know which to use and when?
For example, you could say:
Last week I stayed up all night whilst I worried about the events that would take place in the morning.
You could also say something like:
I will work on the project while you make dinner.
For example, I might say something like:
I am not in a hurry. I can wait for a while if that helps.
For example, you might hear someone say:
While away, I will not have access to my phone. So, you must contact someone on my team if you need something.
In the above example, some people may mistakenly use 'whilst.' However, that is incorrect because 'while' is the correct verb form of the word.
For example, you could say something like:
Waiting while she finishes her phone call always irritates me.
As you can see in the above example, you should not use 'whilst' because you are not using the conjunction form of the word 'while.'
There are many meanings of 'while,' 'whilst,' there are only a few ways to use 'whilst.' You should use 'while' in formal communications 'while' writing to an American English-speaking audience.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 'whilst' is a conjunction of the word 'while' used primarily in British English style writing that means:
The children are supposed to be quiet 'whilst' the teacher grades the papers.
It can also mean:
You need to watch the timer carefully 'whilst' you colour your hair.
You will notice that the second sentence utilizes the British English spelling of color. When you are writing to a British English-speaking audience, the correct conjunction of 'while' is 'whilst.'
According to the same dictionary, 'while' means:
We will only be gone for a little 'while.'
It can also mean:
It wouldn't be worth my 'while' to start that project at this late hour.
'While' we work on the project, stay out of the way.
'While' we need you at work, we can manage without you for a day or two.
By now, you are probably wondering how to pronounce these two words.
So, here is a simple guide:
To pronounce 'whilst' properly, use the phonetic spelling
When pronouncing 'while,' use the phonetic spelling:
As you can see, the only difference in the pronunciations is the ST-sound at the end of 'whilst.'
You know the definition, pronunciation, and ways to use these two words. Now, look at the examples to ensure you know how to write them in a sentence.
Now you have all the information you need to know to use these two words properly. But before you go, here is a brief recap:
With so many usages of 'while,' it can be challenging to remember exactly how to use some words. So, if these words trip you up in the future, you can always come back here for a quick refresh.
You should also review our other guides on confusing words to learn about many other words and phrases people often find challenging when learning English or working to become a better writer.