as, when and while (things happening at the same time)

  • [As/When/While A was happening, B happened.
    B happened as/when/while A was happening.]
    As/When/While A was happening
    B happened.
    We can use as, when, or while to say that a longer action or event was going on when something else happened.
    We usually use the past progressive tense (was/were + . . . -ing) for the longer action or event.
    As I was walking down the street I saw Joe driving a Porsche.
    The telephone rang when I was having a bath.
    While they were playing cards, somebody broke into the house.
    As, when and while can be used in the same way with present tenses.
    Please don’t interrupt me when I’m speaking.
    I often get good ideas while I’m shaving
  • [ While A was happening, B was happening.
    While A happened, B happened.]
    While A was happening/happened
    B was happening/happened
    We usually use while to say that two long actions or events went on at the same time.
    We can use the past progressive or the simple past.
    While you were reading the paper, I was working.
    John cooked supper while I watched TV.
    Present tenses are also possible.
    After supper, I wash up while Mary puts the children to bed.
  • [As A happened, B happened. B happened, as A happened.]
    As A happened
    B happened.
    We can use as to say that two short actions or events happened at the same time.
    As I opened my eyes I heard a strange voice.
    The doorbell rang just as I picked up the phone.