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How to use During, For and While

Average: 3.7 (121 votes)

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.


He fell asleep ___ the meeting.

It seems that there are two right answers for this question:

"He fell asleep during the meeting."


"He fell asleep for the meeting."

Both are correct. The first means that he slept during the meeting (it is no matter how long), the second one means that he slept for the whole meeting.

I, for instance, have chosen the first answer.
Thanks for the exercises and have a nice day!

true: there are two!

I've chosen the first variant as well.


I`m fond of this webpage very much

+1 ...during the meeting...

Very usefull lesson! Thank you!


too me

Love this web page :)

Thank u very much Smile
I had everything correct. I like doing these excercises everyday Smile

thank you .... but

thanks for that lesson
but i guess that more conflict donewith me in my exams for the using for vs. since
can we explain the cases of usage here too?
thank you

think you

it's really enjoyble


Applause very intresting.

how to use during far and while

thank you very much this one was pritty good i would like to have this type of exercises

Cool exercise !!

Call Me
All my answers are correct. Except one article, and it is the
second one . But, thanks for this exercises.

See again Applause

well done Mali...

all of them are correct...
thank you EC / Malta...
Mali Akın / FCE Exam class
6 days at last..

fell asleep

i didn't understand why we should use "for" in the second sentence!?
In the example "nobody spoke during the presentation" used "during".
What is notional difference between these?

try my english

i got two wronged answer. but, i have a nice to do this exersice.


Thank you, It is very interesting! I've chosen the first variant))

this website really good..

this website really good..


Wo....It's very useful lesson. I studied so much from this one. Thanks.


hi english learners.....sounds good to have you Smile

This is so nice. Thanks for

This is so nice. Thanks for the exercises.. Smile

I don't understand why my

I don't understand why my answer is wrong at this sentence : He fell sleep( )the meeting. I thought it's during! Can somebody explain to me. Thank You


Thanks for the lesson.I've undestood the usage "while". But when I say - ... "during" my summer holidays I visited.....My teachers are not pleased with it . Why?


It seems we all have the same problem at second sentence, but it'great exercise.


It seems there was a problem with the 2nd question. It has now been fixed. Give it a try.


Yeahh..:)) I did all without any mistake!

Thanks for the lesson and exercise.

Have a nice day/night/week/weekend!
Wherever you're far away.


Thanks for lesson
Its great exercise for practice.............!

Somalia Thank you for this

Somalia Thank you for this exercise. This website is very useful and since I have joined I have benefited from it. Prepositions are hard and tough and the only way I can strengthen or improve it is visiting this website more and practicing it daily or at least twice a week.
Thanks once again Smile

Thank you

This helped me a lot. I was always confused about them, but now they are clear to me.

itt wasss usefulllll

itt wasss usefulllll

the usage of During, a common mistake

Some of those who are interested in teaching and learning English believe that During can be followed by a gerund,but it is a fatal mistake in English because During is always followed by a Nominative Absolute Noun