I think choices 1, 2, and 3 are correct. Is there any difference?

I saw a boy.........I was driving.

1)when     2)as      3)while   4)since


  • They're all legal grammatically, but #4 has a different meaning that doesn't totally make sense. The meanings of the words can be easily looked up in a dictionary. – Katherine Lockwood Dec 29 '16 at 2:27

Without further context, there is some ambiguity present with the choice of "when". To say "I say a boy when I was driving." may be read as saying that you saw a boy during that time of your life when you were a driver. It is not necessarily the case that you were in the act of driving at the time you saw the boy.

A similar problem arises with the choice of "while" since, again, "while I was driving" may simply refer to that time in your life when you were licensed to drive.

And again, with the choice of "since" the same ambiguity arises between being in the act of driving and simply being licensed to drive.

Therefore, I would suggest that "as" is the correct choice.

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  • 1
    But there is ambiguity with as as well. Is it being used to mean because or while? – Jim Dec 28 '16 at 22:01
  • @Jim Excellent point. I hadn't considered that. If as is read to mean either because or while, then it would still imply that the boy was seen during the act of driving. For example, you would not say "I saw the boy because I have a license to drive". What do you think? – user208726 Dec 28 '16 at 22:16
  • 'I saw a boy when I was driving' could well be my choice if there is a contrast with 'but nobody at all when my wife was driving'. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 28 '16 at 23:51
  • @EdwinAshworth HaHa! – user208726 Dec 28 '16 at 23:57
  • I'm sorry; that was a serious comment. I certainly wouldn't use 'as' in this example. Am I missing something? – Edwin Ashworth Dec 29 '16 at 0:01

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