Beginner 2 > Lesson 29
Lesson 29. “While Verb-ing (at the same time)” [Verb-는 동안 vs Verb-(으)면서]
There are 2 expressions that you can use to have the meaning, “while verb-ing (while doing something else simultaneously)”:
VERB + 는 동안
|VERB + (으) 면서|
|책을 읽는 동안 사과를 먹었어요 – While I was reading, I ate an apple.|
먹으면서 책을 읽었어요 – While I was eating, I read a book.
As shown, though they can both be used to indicate that two or more actions happened at the same time, they are NOT ALWAYS interchangeable.
1. VERB + 는 동안
When using this construction, 는 동안 is added directly to the verb stem regardless of 받침. The only case in which this is different is with irregular verbs with ㄹ 받침 (e.g. 놀다 – to play). In these cases, ㄹ 받침 would be removed from the verb stem before 는 동안 is added. (e.g. 노는 동안(O) / 놀는 동안 (X))
RULE: 1) The subject in the first and second clauses can be different OR the same.
2) The tense of the whole sentence is determined by the tense used in the following clause.
제가 노는 동안 동생은 열심히 공부했어요 – While I was playing, my younger sibling studied hard. (Subjects are different.)
저는 요리하는 동안 음악을 들어요 – I listen to music while cooking. (Subject is the same.)
내가 책을 읽는 동안 넌 뭐 할 거야? – While I’m reading, what are you going to do? (Subjects are different.)
내가 편의점 가는 동안 집을 청소해 – Clean the house while I go to the convenience store. (Subjects are different.)
2. VERB + (으)면서
When using this construction, (으)면서 is added to verb stems without 받침 while 으면서 is added to the verb stems with 받침. Again, irregular verbs with ㄹ 받침 (e.g. 놀다 – to play) are the only exception. In these cases, 면서 is added directly to the verb stem. (e.g. 놀면서 (O) / 놀으면서 (X))
RULE: 1) the subject in the first and second clauses MUST be the same. This subject is usually a person.
2) This construction can NOT be used for natural phenomena or occurrences that happen out of one’s control (e.g., weather, traffic etc.)
3) The tense of the whole sentence is determined by the tense used in the following clause.
울면서 웃고 있었어 – I was crying and laughing at the same time.
운전하면서 말할 수 있어요? – Can you talk while driving?
기다리면서 저 잡지를 봐도 돼요 – You can read those magazines while you wait.
TV 보면서 과자를 많이 먹자 – Let’s eat lots of snacks while we watch TV.
기차 타면서 어떤 도시를 지나가나요? – Which cities are we going to pass by while we’re on the train?
음악을 들으면서 강아지를 산책시켰어요 – I walked my dog while listening to music.
NB: Neither VERB + 는 동안 or VERB + (으)면서 can be used with adjectives.
(VERB + (으)면서 can have other meanings, some of which can be used with adjectives, but these will be taught in the intermediate course.)
Summary of Usage
|VERB + 는 동안||VERB + (으)면서||Translation|
|The first and second clause subjects are the same||저는 요리하는 동안 음악을 들어요||저는 요리하면서 음악을 들어요||I listen to music while cooking.|
|The first and second clause subjects are different||누나가 우는 동안 넌 그냥 보기만해?!|
누나가 울면서 넌 그냥 보기만해?!
|Are you just going to watch while your sister cries?!|
|Natural phenomena/something out of your control||비가 내리는 동안 길이 얼었어요.|
|While it was raining outside, the road froze.|