Can I use them interchangeably? If so, is there a context where one of them is more plausible than the other?

1- Choose your words wisely while speaking to him.

2- Choose your words wisely speaking to him.

3- Choose your words wisely in speaking to him.

4- He broke his leg while playing football.

5- He broke his leg playing football.

6- He broke his leg in playing football.

1 Answer 1


1,4 and 5 are correct.

You can't really use "in doing" instead of "while doing." According to one answer from English Language Usage SE..."in doing" this is only used to describe the consequences of an action. According to Macmillan Dictionary, "in doing something" is "used for saying that as a result of doing one thing, you also do something else."

Example 2, without using while or when, has a bit different meaning as intended and reads like "Choose your words by wisely speaking to him."

Example 5 is fine, because the meaning is clear even without using "while."

  • But as far as I know, "in" means "during" and I think "during" means pretty much the same thing as "while or when" . And also I have always come across with this kind of sentences : "What was your idea in choosing this perspective?" "I would take one word at a time in choosing which one to use." May 8, 2019 at 10:53
  • "In" does not mean the same as "while" or "during" and you cannot use it instead of them. In your example: "What was your idea in choosing this perspective?" (which is correct), you did not use "in" instead of "while" or "when."
    – Jan
    May 8, 2019 at 12:36
  • Neither does it mean "as a result of choosing". So what is the meaning of "in choosing" in that example? I am having a really hard time understanding this form "in v-ing". May 8, 2019 at 12:55
  • "What was your idea in choosing this perspective?" means ""What was your idea behind choosing this perspective?" or "What made you choose this perspective? or simply "Why did you choose this perspective?" In this sentence "in" does not replace "while" or "during." In your original question, "in" is not appropriate replacement for "while" or "during," so you cannot say "in speaking" instead of "while speaking."
    – Jan
    May 8, 2019 at 13:06
  • Okay but "as a result of it" is not the appropriate definition for this usage "in v-ing" May 8, 2019 at 13:14

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