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How to use During, For and While

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The prepositions during, for, and while are often used with time time expressions. Let's take a look at the difference in usage between during, for, and while.

How to use during

during is a preposition which is used before a noun (during + noun) to say when something happens. It does not tell us how long it happened. For example:

"Nobody spoke during the presentation."

"We get plenty of snow here during the winter."

How to use while

When is used to talk about two things that are happening at the same time. The length of time is not important. Remember that while is used with a subject and a verb (while + subject + verb). For example:

"The phone rang while I was watching TV."

"I met him while we were studying in the library."

How to use for

For is a preposition which is used with a period to say how long something goes on:

"Simon has been sleeping for 8 hours."

"We waited for 30 minutes outside your house."

Link: Prepositions + '-ing'

  • I've been meaning to call you ___ some time.




  • He fell asleep ___ the meeting.




  • We all stayed inside ___ the storm.




  • Someone stole my bag ___ I was riding on the train.




  • The dog was barking ___ she was trying to watch TV.




  • Please don't smoke ___ I'm eating.




  • Bats sleep ___ the day.




  • They've been out of the office ___ ages.




  • He kept talking to me ___ I was trying to read.




  • His mobile-phone rang twice ___ the film.