You might need to use a comma before using the word ‘while,’ depending on the context that you are using it in. The word ‘while’ has two definitions. One means during the same time as something else. Used in this context, you would not use a comma before the word ‘while.’ However, if you are using the word ‘while’ to mean ‘whereas’ or ‘although’ you would use a comma before the word.
Continue reading further to learn more about the word while, both definitions, and examples of using the word ‘while’ in a sentence with a comma and without.
Definition of ‘While’
While has two meanings when used as a conjunction. One meaning is time-related. While goes on to describe something which is occurring simultaneously as something else in the temporal sense. While also has another meaning that indicates a contrast. It means “whereas” or “although” in this context.
No Comma with the Word ‘While’
When discussing two things that are happening at the same time, do not use a comma before while. Examples of using ‘while’ without a comma are:
- Can you take the food out of the oven while I am washing the dishes?
- You mow the lawn while I trim the hedges.
- Please move your car from the driveway while I am at the store.
Using a Comma with ‘While’
When you mean “whereas” or “although,” you should use a comma before while in the middle of a sentence. Examples of using while with a comma can include:
- I prefer the summer heat, while my husband enjoys the cooler months of the year.
- The price of everything is increasing, while wages are remaining stagnant.
- My favorite Tim Burton movie is Edward Scissorhands, while many other people enjoy Beetlejuice.
Using ‘While’ At the Beginning of a Sentence
When the first word of your sentence is ‘while’ you should not put a comma in front of it. However, if you use while to mean ‘whereas’ you must include a comma somewhere. Put it at the end of the clause that has been introduced by while. The comma should be placed between the two things that are being compared or occurring at the same time.
Examples of using ‘while’ at the beginning of a sentence are:
- While I prefer the summer heat, my husband enjoys the cooler months of the year.
- While I am washing the dishes, can you take the food out of the oven?
- While the price of everything is increasing, wages are staying stagnant.