While or whilst

02 Sep

Oh dear – I’m afraid this one makes me a bit sad! The pair was suggested by Gill (she of the Libro holiday) and I realised I wasn’t quite sure of the difference, so I turned to my reference books.

Gentle readers: there is no difference.

Whilst is a variant of while which is pretty well only used in the UK (it’s considered archaic, at best, in other regions).  Some style guides, such as the Guardian newspaper one, say whilst shouldn’t be used at all. I like it, and I’ll continue to use it – but there are no rules about when you should and shouldn’t do so.

And it’s the same for among/amongst too. Sorry!

You can find more troublesome pairs here.


Posted by on September 2, 2011 in Errors, Language use, Troublesome pairs, Writing


Tags: , , ,

3 responses to “While or whilst

  1. Gill Rose

    September 2, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Interestingly, ‘while’ is used as a Lancashire dialect word = “Can you wait for your hot drink while bedtime?”. Not sure I’ve hear ‘whilst’ being used in that context.


  2. Liz at Libro

    September 3, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Interesting, obviously an extension of the general use of the word while but never whilst.



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