I work in a small company and I would say we have an intermediate level of English (for French people).

We do not agree on the translation of our slogan. An incorrect translation would be quite embarrassing for a company with customers all over the world.

To put this in context: our company is specialized in instrumentation (recorders) for the geotechnical engineering.

In french it is :

Mesures pendant et après forage.

From this, we argue about these two possible translations:

Measurement during and after drilling.

Measurement while and after drilling.

What I've found so far is that "during" is used before a noun and "while" before a subject+verb.

I would prefer "while" in this case because it sounds good to me but since "drilling" is a noun, and also an action. I don't find the right argumentation to convince my teammates. Could you clarify me the rule please?

My question is: Are these two sentences grammatically correct?

  • 6
    The gerund "drilling" counts as a noun in this sentence. The rules are complicated. While "drilling" could be a verb in the phrase "while drilling" or in the phrase "after drilling", you can't combine them to get *"while and after drilling". You would have to say "while drilling and afterward". Mar 25, 2014 at 19:21
  • @PeterShor Or "while drilling and afterwards" with the s added for British English.
    – toandfro
    Mar 25, 2014 at 21:54
  • @PeterShor This is a great comment, and it would be a very interesting answer if you could add it ;)
    – glepretre
    May 6, 2014 at 7:19
  • Thanks to everyone, I guess there is no perfect answer to this case but we can learn from it now.
    – glepretre
    May 6, 2014 at 7:28

3 Answers 3


I worked some years in drilling field and had Scottish supervisors. No Englishman will ever use a term like “measurement during and after drilling”.

Actually the well known term used is “measurements while drilling” also known as “logging while drilling” (LWD).

As far as the logging after drilling (LAD) is concerned, this is a separate term and shouldn’t be combined with LWD.

So, I recommend you to use LWD and separately LAD since they refer to different stages of well drilling.

A LWD downhole tool is used to take measurements for obtaining continuous record in the process of drilling whereas a LAD refer to "open hole logs" which are run before the oil or gas well is lined with pipe or cased. "Cased hole logs" are run after the well is lined with casing or production pipe.

Consequently, if you used the terms I recommended you there wouldn’t be any embarrassing situation in the drilling field.


Measurement during and after drilling.

While is generally not used as a preposition, rather as a conjunction or noun, which would not fit into your phrase.

You need a preposition to match after.

  • I think you nailed it. The use of "while" as preposition is not common. The Oxford Dictionaries shows it is a Northern English use. It also explains @PeterShor 's comment.
    – Nico
    Mar 25, 2014 at 23:47

My initial reaction is that during sounds better in this case. Google NGrams backs me up: during and after vs while and after

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