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I see meanwhile a lot; I use it a lot; yet I'm not sure about the formal rules when it's applicable. Can anyone help me?

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"Meanwhile" is a word meaning "while something else is happening." It is used to bridge references to two actions that are happening simultaneously.

I was sitting in my car at the train station, waiting for my wife, who was supposed to be home on the 6:40. Meanwhile, she was on a different train going to God-knows-where.

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It sounds close to the same, but 'in the mean time' is different: 'She'd called to say she'd be on the 6:40 but, in the mean time, her friend had lured Imelda into shoe-hunting expedition. ' –  Pete Wilson Apr 19 '11 at 14:11
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@Pete Wilson: The question was about meanwhile. Where are you getting "in the mean time"? –  Robusto Apr 19 '11 at 15:09
    
As I said: It sounds close to the same, but 'in the mean time' is different. It's a good idea to forestall confusion, imo, before the inevitable question appears. That's the intent of the comment. Objections? –  Pete Wilson Apr 19 '11 at 17:37
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