Connectors in Spanish, as in most languages, are difficult but highly necessary, since they help us orient our speech in one way or another. There are lots of them in Spanish, but let’s take just two of them now: mientras and mientras que . Even if they might look similar, they are not. Why? Let’s see the difference:
• Mientras is a word that we use to link two actions that occur simultaneously. The approximate translation in English would be “while”. It can be used in the past, in the present and in the future. For example:
Mientras yo vivía en Nueva York, tuvo lugar el atentado de las Torres Gemelas
• Mientras que is an expression that we use to connect two ideas that are opposed, so basically mientras que creates a contrast or an opposition. It could be translated as something like whereas. For example:
Yo sé mucho sobre mecánica, mientras que él no tiene ni idea.
Now, why don’t you try to practice a bit? Here’s one of our free online activities you can do. All you have to do is fill in the gaps with the appropriate form: mientras or mientas que. Then, click on the button to see all the answers. Good luck!