While as a conjunction and adverb – When used as conjunction/adverb, both the words mean during or at the same time as. They can also mean whereas (in the context of comparison). In the above sentence, we can replace ‘whereas’ with while or whilst and both will be correct.
Meanwhile – meanwhile indicates between a time period. For example, you are waiting for a bus. During that time, you talk to your mother on phone, while waiting for the bus. This gap is indicated with the word meanwhile.
3. Get the treatment done soon. Meanwhile, I will give you some pain killers.
Note that in all the sentences, we can replace meanwhile and use while. ‘While’ will then join the 2 sentences and make it one. For example, “Finish your homework while I prepare nice dinner for you”, or “While we were talking nicely, our teacher came and scolded us for not doing the class work.”
While as a noun
· It will take a while for the bus to start.
While as a verb
· Don’t while away your time, study for your exams.
· Instead of whiling away your afternoons, you can take up some hobby classes.
· Stitching helps me while away my time when the kids are not at home.
Note that we use ‘away’ along with while.
While as a preposition
· Can you wait while Saturday, so we can go for shopping together?
As we have seen, while is used in many contexts. However, whilst can be used only as adverb or conjunction. While is more common and you should prefer using while over whilst whenever you are in doubt.