While vs. Whilst
A reader asks:
what is the difference between while and whilst?
Both while and whilst have been in the language for a very long time. While was in use in Old English; whilst is a Middle English development of while. As conjunctions they are interchangeable in meaning, but whilst has not survived in standard American English.
I waited whilst Mugabe delivered what he thought were his pearls of wisdom…
I waited while breakfast was finished.
To the American ear whilst sounds quaint. Some British and Canadian speakers think it sounds literary or old-fashioned, but many British speakers prefer it to while.
Here are some quotations from newspapers:
… Why do flies gather inside a room, whilst bees and butterflies somehow avoid the open door or window?
Jill Shimwell, Bebington(www.theguardian.com)
… has become the first major casualty of England’s World Cup campaign after dislocating his right shoulder while running near the team’s base on the Gulf of Finland. The England manager suffered the injury while jogging … (www.theguardian.com)
… sheriff’s deputies in Kansas who were shot while transporting inmates from a jail to a court hearing on Friday died of their injuries, the police in Kansas City, (www.nytimes.com)
… agency that takes custody of children separated from their parents, have said that the children will not be reunited while their parents remain in custody. But reunification demands will increase as more parents are released from … (www.latimes.com)
See Among vs Amongst
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