# When Vs. While?

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Dear teachers,

Are the following sentences correct?

I was taking a bath when the earthquake happened.

I took a bath while the earthquake was happening.

I cut my face while I was shaving.

I was shaving when I cut my face.

Furthermore, when do we only put the simple past tense on both the main clause and the subordinate clause (the one with the conjunction in front of it) in a long sentence? For example, does "I always go to see a doctor when I am under the weather." sound OK to you? Can I use "while" to replace "when" in this sentence?

Lastly, can we use a past continuous tense on both the main and subordinate clause with the word "while" as the conjunction? For example, "The guy was renovating my room while I was traveling in Europe".

As far as I know, to use "when" means two events come in one after another , whereas "while" usually indicates two events come at the same time. Correct?

Whew...what else can I think of.....

Lcchang
Hi,

Are the following sentences correct?

I was taking a bath when the earthquake happened. OK

I took a bath while the earthquake was happening. Sounds odd. It's because an eathquake usually doesn't last long, so I wouldn't use the continuous tense.

I cut my face while I was shaving. OK

I was shaving when I cut my face. OK

Furthermore, when do we only put the simple past tense on both the main clause and the subordinate clause (the one with the conjunction in front of it) in a long sentence? For example, does "I always go to see a doctor when I am under the weather." sound OK to you? Yes, fine. Can I use "while" to replace "when" in this sentence? I wouldn't. 'When' better reflects the 'first this, then this' nature of the events.

Lastly, can we use a past continuous tense on both the main and subordinate clause with the word "while" as the conjunction? For example, "The guy was renovating my room while I was traveling in Europe". Definitely.

As far as I know, to use "when" means two events come in one after another ,Not always. eg When John arrived, we ate lunch. but When I was cooking lunch, John arrived. (not the continuous tense)

whereas "while" usually indicates two events come at the same time. Correct? Yes, for 'long' events.

Best wishes, Clive
We have made a lot of discussion on the question similar to yours. Please look at them.

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