Mentre (while): Italian grammar lesson 105

For a free printable PDF version, register for free or login.

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.

while italian

Mentre vs durante: Explained

learn italian
My secret to learn languages faster!

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

Be careful though!

ripeti con me logo
Stop reading, start speaking! With "Ripeti con me!"

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.

Audio lessons to practice mentre

To practice mentre, take Lesson 105 of the Italian audio course “Ripeti con me!“.

It’s a collection of useful exercises to master Italian grammar naturally.

Start a free trial now!

For a free printable PDF version, register for free or login.

Leave a Reply

Stop Reading, Start Speaking!

With the Italian audio course “Ripeti con me!”

Log in

Join for free now

  • Receive free resources to learn Italian*
  • Earn points
  • Hide ads

*You may unsubscribe at any time.

ripeti con me logo

Stop reading,

start speaking!

with "Ripeti con me!"

Learn and Win!

You could be earning points just by reading this page.  Points earn you exciting rewards like free language lessons.

Don’t miss your points, sign up now!