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Is there any effective difference between although and while when meaning "despite the fact that", or are differences in usage only a matter of style rather than grammar? See the following sentences as an example.

  • Although your work has improved greatly, there are still some skills that can be improved.
  • While your work has improved greatly, there are still some skills that can be improved.

Are there instances where one is preferred over the other? Is although more precise, less ambiguous? I am aware that we cannot reverse the sentence with while as we can with although.

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  • There's a potential difference between #1 I can still work from home although I have Covid and #2 I can still work from home while I have Covid. Both versions are equivalent if I currently have Covid, but only #2 can be used to refer to a (possible or anticipated) future infection (If I develop Covid in the future). Aug 17, 2023 at 13:40
  • In your particualr examples I would say these are synonymous. They both mean "depsite the fact that". That doesn't mean although and while are always synonymous.
    – Billy Kerr
    Aug 17, 2023 at 13:59

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In some cases, the meaning would change between while and although:

  1. "Although she is 16, she can't drive," implies one would expect her to be able to drive at 16, though she can't.
  2. "While she is 16, she can't drive," implies she can't drive until her 17th birthday, though it might mean as in 1, depending on context.
  3. "Although the teacher is absent, we have to copy that text," implies we still must copy a text, despite the teacher's absence.
  4. "While the teacher is absent, we have to copy that text," implies we are copying a text because the teacher is out; perhaps there will be more interesting work when she returns.

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