Both of them seem to give off a sense of "X while doing Y". I'm not sure when to use which.

Is one used for speaking only? Or, are they both the same overall?

3 Answers 3


From Korean Grammar for International Learners:


Two or more actions consistently take place, or two actions take place side by side.


스미스씨는 미국으로 떠나며, 우리에게 작별 인사를 했습니다

While leaving for America, Mr. Smith bade us farewell.

장미는 예쁘며 아름답습니다

Roses are pretty and beautiful [at the same time].

하늘도 맑으며, 물도 맑아요

The sky is clear, so is the water.

김군은 공부를 잘 하는 학생이며, 이군은 아주 얌전한 학생입니다

Mr. Kim is a good student, [Mr. Lee is also a nice student].


Two actions take place concurrently or very close in time proximity. The subject of the two sentences must be the same.


밥을 먹으면서 재미 있는 이야기를 했습니다

We had a good conversations while eating.

그 아이는 큰 소리를 지르면서 울었어요

That child shouted loudly and cried at the same time.

우리는 모두 노래를 부르면서 산에 올라 갔습니다

We climbed up the mountain singing together.

저분은 의사이면서 교수입니다

He is a doctor and professor.

Now, howtostudykorean.com sums this up like this:

~(으)며 is a shortened form of ~(으)면서. In theory, ~(으)며 can replace all of the example sentences above that show two actions occurring at the same time. For example:

저는 영화를 보며 콜라를 마셨어요 = I drank cola while watching a movie 학업을 진행하며 직장도 다녀요 = As I progress/continue my studies, I also go to work

That being said, it is much, much more common to use ~(으)면서 in these types of sentences – especially when two actions literally occur continuously at the same time. For example, the following sentence – which indicates that peanuts are grinded continuously at the same time that the machine turns – would be much better said using ~(으)면서:

이 기계를 돌리면서 땅콩을 갈아요 = As you turn this machine, the peanuts get/are grinded

Therefore, I recommend you to use ~(으)면서 when indicating that two actions (or descriptions) occur simultaneously, but be aware that technically ~(으)며 can also be used to have this function as well.

So in summary, I have taken great interest in this question and simultaneously have given an answer:

저는 이 질문에 관심을 가지며 답장을 보냈습니다.


According to these articles(Link1, Link2 and link3), they are different each other. I read these three articles and I couldn't understand. I'm a native Korean, though. I knew they were the same.

In my opinion, there is no problem where you use them as the same meaning.

But you should know that "~며" has the other meaning "and"

이것은 사과며, 저것은 감이다. : This is an apple and that is a persimmon.
이것은 사과면서, 저것은 감이다. (incorrect)


My personal feeling is that, while both -면서 and -며 can mean "while doing," -며 has the feeling of a looser connection between the two tasks. Take the following sentence for example:

떡을 먹으며 신문을 읽었어요. (While eating 떡 I read a newspaper.)

However, this sentence could equally mean "I ate 떡 and read the newspaper." The process of doing one while also doing the other is less emphasized perhaps.

On the other hand, 떡을 먹으면서 신문을 읽었어요 unambiguously states that you ate 떡 while reading the newspaper. And it lends more emphasis to the connection between the two tasks.

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