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Mentre (while): Italian grammar lesson 105

Mentre vs durante: Meaning

In Italian, we have two main words to talk about actions that happen at the same time: the conjunction mentre (while) and the preposition durante (during).

These words express contemporaneity and are used to describe events that take place simultaneously.

  • Ascolto la musica mentre corro.
    I listen to music while I run.
  • A volte dormo durante il giorno.
    Sometimes I sleep during the day.
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Mentre vs durante: Explained

Mentre is a conjunction, and it can be used to describe simultaneous events that happen in the present, past or future. Mentre always links two clauses and it usually appears before a verb.

Mentre + verb

  • Mentre cammino mi piace fischiettare.
    I like to whistle while I walk.
  • Ti aspetto qui mentre vai in banca.
    I’ll wait for you here while you go to the bank.

Durante is a preposition used to indicate that something is happening at the same time as an event. It is not used to link two clauses, but it usually precedes a noun or pronoun (the event), to state that something is happening simultaneously to that event.

Durante + noun

  • Ho letto durante tutto il volo.
    I read during the whole flight.
  • Non mangio mai durante le riunioni.
    I never eat during meetings.

what does mentre in italian mean

Mentre: Another meaning

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Be careful though!

Sometimes mentre can have a different meaning. This conjunction is also widely used with a connotation of contrast.

Have a look at the examples below, they have nothing to do with time and contemporaneity!

  • Io voglio uscire, mentre lui vuole stare a casa.
    I want to go out, whereas he wants to stay in.
  • Giorgio dice che ci sarà il sole, mentre io credo che pioverà.
    Giorgio says it will be sunny, while I think it will rain.

In this case, mentre has a similar meaning to the conjunctions invece (instead) or ma (but), expressing contrast.

Mentre vs durante: Examples

Have a look at these examples of the use of mentre and durante (careful, the last one is not about two simultaneous actions!)

  • Qualcuno ti ha chiamato mentre dormivi.
    Someone called you while you were sleeping.
  • Mentre vai a fare la spesa io preparo il pranzo.
    While you go shopping I will cook lunch.
  • Spero di riuscire a dormire durante il viaggio.
    I hope I will be able to sleep during the trip.
  • Ho provato a concentrarmi durante la lezione, ma ero troppo stanca.
    I tried to concentrate during the lesson, but I was too tired.
  • Mio fratello vuole mangiare la pizza stasera, mentre io preferirei una zuppa.
    My brother wants to have pizza tonight, while I would prefer a soup.
To practice Mentre (while): Italian grammar lesson 105, take lesson
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2 Responses

  1. The lessons are short and explained very clearly.
    I enjoy following these lessons.

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