She had a smile on her face, reading my texts.

She had a smile on her face reading my texts.

She had a smile on her face whilst reading my texts.

What's the difference in the meaning in above sentences? Are all of them grammatically correct?

  • Even in BrE, whilst there is somewhat "dated". Better would be while (and imho, even better would be when). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Apr 5 '16 at 17:47
  • What about the sentences where i dropped out "while"? Do we necessarily need to use something before READING here? @FumbleFingers – lekon chekon Apr 15 '16 at 20:47
  • None of your alternatives are particularly likely in a normal spoken context. @Chad is right to say the first is somewhat "poetic", because they all are, but they're certainly not "informal". If you were describing this (past) situation to a friend, more natural phrasing would be She had a smile on her face when she read my texts. Even more likely, just She smiled when she read my texts. Or ...as she read..., depending on the nuance you want (when implying immediately after, as a result of, as implying at the same time, during the reading). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Apr 16 '16 at 14:26

The first sentence is a little unusual, perhaps informal or poetic.

The second sentence just seems wrong.

The third sentence is the most conventional, as long as you use "while" instead of "whilst" (especially in American English).

Another option:

She had a smile on her face as she read my texts.
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The gerund "reading" will not be used in informal writing. So it is better to write:

She's a smile on her face when she read my text.

By the way, it is metaphoric and means she was very pleased or happy.

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