English: subordinating conjunctions: while

Tutoring English, a constant question is how to keep writing fresh.  The English tutor discusses his recent satisfaction with the word while….

Continuing, generally, the discussion about complex sentences that began with my last post, I’d like to tell you about my rediscovery of the word while.

Last summer, I had several writing projects to complete. Needing, as always, to maintain sentence variety, yet without unnecessary length, I gradually zeroed in on while. I never used it much in high school or university, but now I’m finding new uses for it weekly.

While is a great word: I think the reason is that it has two potential meanings. It can mean “at the same time” or “although.” Often, those two meanings apply simultaneously.

Consider the following example:

While he hated math, his highest mark was in it.

For a situation to be ironic, two conflicting premises need to be true at the same time. That’s why while, I’m finding, shines among subordinating conjunctions.

While India’s economic growth rate may lag China’s some years, India is ahead in being a democracy.

In one of my writing endeavours last summer, the target was really stingy with word allowance. Being a single word with two potential meanings, while came to my rescue time and again. Maybe it will for you, too:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

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