Can You Start a Sentence With “While”?

It is correct to start a sentence with “while” in formal and informal writing to refer to time. E.g., “While I was walking home, I saw a car accident.” The word “while” at the beginning of a sentence can also contrast two things. E.g., “While she won the election, she lost her majority.”

The word “while” has two principal meanings and you will see both regularly starting sentences in formal and informal writing.

The first meaning refers to something that happens at the same time as something else.

  • While we were watching the movie, the storm took out the power lines.

The second function of “while” is to contrast two things, events, or opinions.

  • While I don’t like him much, it is his birthday, so I promise to be nice.
  • While the evening was a success regarding team morale, it was an expensive event.

Furthermore, starting a sentence with “while also” is not common because they are the same word type, which sounds awkward.

However, you can insert a pronoun, which makes it correct, but still a little awkward sounding.

  • He wasn’t good at sports. While he also wasn’t good academically either.

Perhaps you still have doubts about starting a sentence with “while.” Then, you should continue reading to learn more about using “while” in academic or informal writing.

If you’re looking for another term to use instead of “while,” we’ve also compiled a list of formal alternatives.

Can You Start a Sentence With “While” in Formal Writing?

It is acceptable and common to start a sentence with “while” in formal and academic writing.

For example, you can use it to refer to time, i.e., what happens simultaneously to something else.

  • While taking the psychometric test, applicants must not speak to each other.

Also, you can use “while” to contrast two things, such as ideas, events, and states. In this context, ”while” means the same as “although.”

  • While certain countries are rich in natural resources, the wealth they create does not reach society.

There is nothing wrong with including the word “while” in formal writing. However, if you want to mix up your language in your essays or academic writing, you can use these alternative phrases instead of “while:”

  • Although
  • At the same time
  • During

Can You Start a Sentence With “While” in Informal Writing?

You can start a sentence with “while” in informal writing. Furthermore, it is pretty common to see “while” appearing at the start of sentences.

Sometimes, “while” means “at the same time.” As shown in this example:

  • While the house is being decorated, we are staying at my sister’s house.

And at other times, “while” means the same as “even though.”

  • While I hate basketball, I am going to watch my first game next week.