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What is the difference between ながら and 一方で?

Example:

彼はアルバイトをしながら大学へ行きます。

and

彼はアルバイトをする一方で大学へ行きます。

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  • Do you have examples of sentences using ながら and 一方で in which you feel they convey the same or similar ideas?
    – A.Ellett
    Feb 16 at 2:54
  • 1
    You should read the following: japanese.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-ask
    – sundowner
    Feb 16 at 3:26
  • I can't explain the difference, but let me show some examples: 「鈴木さんは歌手である一方、俳優でもある。」「鈴木さんは歌手でありながら、俳優でもある。」とか「日本の生活は楽しい一方で、大変なこともある。」「日本の生活は楽しいながらも、大変なこともある。」とか
    – chocolate
    Feb 19 at 4:39
  • @Ananya If you meant "He goes to university... (not "will go" in the future)", you'd say 行っています, rather than 行きます. 「彼はアルバイトをしながら大学へ行っています。」「彼はアルバイトをする一方で大学へ行っています。」 would sound more natural.
    – chocolate
    Feb 19 at 4:50

3 Answers 3

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You seem to be mixing two different usages of "while" in English.

  1. "while" meaning doing two things concurrently (e.g., talking while walking, sleeping while studying)
  2. "while" used to contrast two facts (similarly to "on one hand, A, on the other hand, B" or "A, whereas B")

Although these are essentially very different, the same word ("while") can be used in English. In Japanese, however, you must distinguish between them. In your case, 彼 is doing two things concurrently (as a part-time worker and as a student), so ながら is the appropriate choice.

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  • 「V1+ながら+V2」:Doing V1 and V2 simultaneously or in parallel. *V2 is the main and V1 is the sub.
  • 「一方で」:On the other hand.
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  • 彼はアルバイトをしながら大学へ行きます。and 彼はアルバイトをする一方で大学へ行きます。
    – Ananya
    Feb 19 at 1:50
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While the first answer on this post answers translates correctly the meaning for both grammatical patterns, I believe you might have wanted the difference between ながら and 一方だ instead of 一方で。The former 「一方だ」is roughly translates to "continued doing x," x being an action or verb preceding 一方だ。

  • この村の人口は減る一方です。。
  • "The population of the village continuous decreasing."

When you use ながら, you usually follow by another action. Whereas 一方だ can be used to describe just one continuous action by itself.

  • リビングを掃除しながら、テレビを見ていました。
  • ”As I was cleaning the living room, I watched TV."

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