as vs while

ullas84

Senior Member
turkish
I have joined a test about ''When, while,as,during'' and I have a confusion on a question in the test.

Question;

I watched __________________the fireman tried to put out the fire.

A)As B)During C)When D)While_________The answer is ''as''

But in my opinion it should be ''while'' because ''I watched'' and ''the fireman tried to put out the fire'' are two simultanious long actions and in this situation ''while'' is

correct one to use.

What is your opinion about this situation ?
 
  • Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    I don't think "while" is incorrect but "as" definitely fits and sounds a little more natural there.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I agree with Barque.

    As - at the same time as
    While - during the [whole] time that

    I hammered the nails as he sawed the wood.

    I watched the film while he cooked the meal
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Grammatically speaking, while works – and, to a lesser extent, so does when.

    But the obvious answer is as, which is by far the most idiomatic word to use in that context. While could be taken to imply that you were standing idly by, not specifically interested in what was going on (literally whiling away the time). But as implies that your purpose was to see what the firefighters were doing.

    I watched in awe as the firemen put out the fire · I watched the firemen as they worked

    I watched while the firemen put out the fire · I waited for them to put out the fire​
     

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    I watched as the fireman tried to put out the fire. :thumbsup: (Here, "as" emphasises that the two thing not only occurred at the same time (or at least overlapped), but also closely linked.


    I watched football on TV while the fireman tried to put out the fire. :thumbsup: (Here, the two things happened at the same time (or overlapped), but they were not necessarily linked otherwise.
     

    ullas84

    Senior Member
    turkish
    I watched as the fireman tried to put out the fire. :thumbsup: (Here, "as" emphasises that the two thing not only occurred at the same time (or at least overlapped), but also closely linked.


    I watched football on TV while the fireman tried to put out the fire. :thumbsup: (Here, the two things happened at the same time (or overlapped), but they were not necessarily linked otherwise.

    İn an other question in the test first and second events are not connected , just happening at the same time but ''as'' is used as an answer.

    Question;

    The doorbell rang just .............I was getting into the bath. Answer is ''as''

    is the right answer ''as'' because of ''just'' used before the space ın the sentence( because of the phrase ''just as'' )

    if ''just'' was not used in this example, would the correct answer be ''while''??

    A)The door bell rang while I was getting into the bath

    or

    Would the correct answer still be

    B)''The door bell rang as I was getting into the bath.'' ?
     

    Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    is the right answer ''as'' because of ''just'' used before the space ın the sentence( because of the phrase ''just as'' )
    Yes.
    Would the correct answer still be
    B)''The door bell rang as I was getting into the bath.'' ?
    Yes. Getting into the bath isn't a process. It's an action that takes a couple of seconds. "As" fits better and indicates the two actions happened simultaneously.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Although the situation is different, again “as” is the obvious word to use — to convey that one thing happens at the very moment when you’d rather it didn’t! Just emphasises this but is not essential.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    is it important?
    Only in the sense that “just as” or “just when” often indicates just that sort of situation. And obviously that does NOT work with “just while”.

    There’s a common idiom (very adaptable) that was used as the slogan for the famous film Jaws:

    Just when you thought it was safe to come out of the water… :eek:
     
    Top