What does the word "as" describe in the following sentence?

As I was about to get out of bed, I heard a noise coming from the kitchen downstairs.

  • Does "as" imply simultaneous short actions?

  • Is "as" just background information?

  • Can "while" be used instead?

2 Answers 2


"While" will indicate an action in progress, but "as", as you use it here, is simply a marker of the time when you were getting up (just like @Mowzer said), hence it's the right word to use, in my opinion.

  • 1
    I agree with your analysis of the use of "while." In fact, you would have to write something like "While I was getting out of bed,..." which is a different verb tense.
    – Mowzer
    Sep 2, 2015 at 5:02
  • @MaulikV I guess, when is not appropriate here too, right? Sep 2, 2015 at 16:27
  • I am new here, so thank you all, for your encouraging comments! Glad I could help.
    – Prashant
    Sep 2, 2015 at 16:34
  • @D.B no, it's not. It's appropriate but does not substitute 'As'
    – Maulik V
    Sep 3, 2015 at 5:08
  • @MaulikV Interesting, so what it would mean if we substituted 'when' with 'as'? Sep 3, 2015 at 17:08

You need the word "as" in this sentence because it informs the reader that everything following the clause happened contemporaneously with (i.e., at the same time as) the events inside the clause (i.e., when the writer was "about to get out of bed.")

Native speaker

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