I'm wondering if these two sentences have the same meaning and can be used interchangeably. Doe the parts in bolds equal?

3 soap dispensers have already been broken in the mens' restroom while the first one is still working in the womens' restroom.

3 soap dispensers have already been broken in the mens' restroom while the womans' restroom still has the first one working.

  • 1
    Neither version is idiomatically valid, because transitive to break [something] down means to to disassemble, deconstruct [for analytical purposes, not vandalism / accident]. There may be other faults besides the main one (that if you want to remove the word while, you should probably start a new sentence at The first one...). But this is effectively Proofreading, since you haven't even explained exactly what you're unsure about. Nov 15, 2019 at 16:04
  • your second "sentence" is two sentences with no punctuation separating them, or at least two finite clauses with no clarifying punctuation Nov 15, 2019 at 17:59
  • 99% of the time we spell out numbers when they start a sentence, thus: 'Three soap dispensers....' Nov 15, 2019 at 18:00
  • @FumbleFingers thanks,I've corrected the mistakes you mentioned. What I was unsure about is if the parts in bolds correct.
    – So_sour
    Nov 16, 2019 at 0:49

1 Answer 1


The two sentences are both a little awkward, but intelligible with almost identical meaning.

An English speaker might say instead: "Three soap dispensers have already been broken in the mens' restroom, while all three in the womens' restroom are still working."

1) Note that the apostrophe goes after the 's' for plural possesives, not before.

2) We do not use "first" like this in English, it's "all" or "none" - an English speaker would likely think: "OK, I guess the speaker installed them in a certain order, but it's weird that he mentions that and didn't tell me what the order was..."

3) "While" or "whereas" instead of "when": "when" in this use indicates a specific, definite point in the past, and "while" indicates a comparison. You want the latter.

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