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During vs. Within: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Updated on September 23, 2023
During denotes a period in which an event occurs; within signifies the time limit by which an event occurs.

Key Differences

During is a preposition used to indicate a time period in which events happen or conditions prevail. It is employed to refer to the entirety or part of the time while an action is occurring or continuing. During is typically used to emphasize the occurrence of events or actions over the time frame being discussed, indicating simultaneity or concurrence. It is about the experience or action that occurs at the same time as another event.
Within, on the other hand, is also a preposition but it refers to the time limit by which something occurs or needs to be completed. It denotes the maximum limit of time in which an event can, should, or must take place. Within is not concerned with the occurrence of simultaneous events but instead focuses on the constraint of time around an occurrence, setting a boundary that is not to be exceeded. It creates a sense of enclosure regarding time, marking the range in which something exists or happens.
The usage of during is more about emphasizing the happenings and events that occur within a particular time frame. It is associated with situations or instances that happen concurrently with another period. For example, one might say, “During the meeting, several important points were discussed,” to emphasize the points discussed in the span of the meeting.
Conversely, the usage of within is more about setting a boundary or limit in time by which something should happen. It does not imply any simultaneous occurrence of events but sets a timeframe for an occurrence. For instance, one might say, “He finished the task within a day,” emphasizing the completion of the task in the limit of a day.
While during provides a sense of being amidst or in the middle of a time period with occurrences happening, within provides a sense of containment, emphasizing the limit or boundary of time for the occurrence of an event. During illustrates an active sense of being in a moment or period, while within conveys a passive boundary that envelops the time frame in which an event occurs.

Comparison Chart


To denote the period in which events occur.
To signify the time limit by which an event occurs.


On the events occurring in a time frame.
On the time boundary or limit.


Concurrent occurrence of events.
Time constraint or enclosure.

Type of Action

Simultaneous actions or events.
Any action or event occurring within a set time frame.

Usage in Sentences

Often used with continuous actions or varied events.
Used to describe actions completed in a specified time limit.

During and Within Definitions


At some time in the course of an event or period.
There was a power outage during the storm.


Inside the limits or extent of in time.
The project must be completed within three weeks.


Indicates simultaneous occurrence of events.
She received several calls during the meeting.


In the interior of; inside in space.
The keys are within the drawer.


Throughout the course or duration of a period or event.
He fell asleep during the movie.


Not exceeding the limits of; before the end of.
He arrived within the allotted time.


Refers to the continuance of an action or event.
They chatted during the entire journey.


Within a certain time limit.
You should return the book within a week.


Denotes the time frame in which actions occur.
It rained during the night.


In or into the inner part; inside
"restaurants and wine houses jammed along the earthen streets ... banners flapping to announce the delights within" (Nicole Mones).


Throughout the course or duration of
Suffered food shortages during the war.


Inside the mind, heart, or soul; inwardly
The fear that lies within.


At some time in
Was born during a blizzard.


In the inner part or parts of; inside
The streets within the city.
Resentment seething within him.


For all of a given time interval.
I lived with my parents during the 1970s.
The shop was one of the few able to stay open during the war.


Not exceeding the limits or extent of in distance or time
Got within ten miles of home.
Stayed within earshot.
Arrived within two days.


At any time or period within a given time interval.
I lived with my parents at several points during the 1980s.
Many of the best examples were produced during the Restoration.


Not exceeding the fixed limits of; not beyond
Lived within her income.


Present participle of dure


In the scope or sphere of
Acted within the law.
Within the medical profession.


In the time of; as long as the action or existence of; as, during life; during the space of a year.


Used to indicate a range to be covered or an amount necessary before something can happen
The team has pulled to within three points and can tie the game with a field goal.


An inner position, place, or area
Treachery from within.


In the inner part, spatially; physically inside.
Within her studio


In the scope or range of.
Within his hearing;
Her within five seconds of breaking the record;
Within an inch of falling overboard


Before the specified duration ends.
Leave here within three days.


In or into the interior; inside.


(legal) In the context of which the present document or ruling is made.
The within appeal


In the inner or interior part of; inside of; not without; as, within doors.
O, unhappy youth!Come not within these doors; within this roofThe enemy of all your graces lives.
Till this be cured by religion, it is as impossible for a man to be happy - that is, pleased and contented within himself - as it is for a sick man to be at ease.


In the limits or compass of; not further in length than; as, within five miles; not longer in time than; as, within an hour; not exceeding in quantity; as, expenses kept within one's income.
Within these five hours lived Lord Hastings,Untainted, unexamined, free, at liberty.


Hence, inside the limits, reach, or influence of; not going outside of; not beyond, overstepping, exceeding, or the like.
Both he and she are still within my power.
Within himselfThe danger lies, yet lies within his power.
Were every action concluded within itself, and drew no consequence after it, we should, undoubtedly, never err in our choice of good.


In the inner part; inwardly; internally.
Ills from within thy reason must prevent.


In the house; in doors; as, the master is within.


On the inside;
Inside, the car is a mess


Inside the bounds of possibility or probability.
Success is within reach.


Can within refer to spatial boundaries?

Yes, within can also refer to being inside spatial limits or boundaries.

Is during always about simultaneous actions?

Generally, during is used to refer to actions occurring at the same time as another event.

Can during be used with specific events?

Yes, during can be used to denote the time frame of specific events.

Does within set a time limit for events?

Yes, within establishes a maximum time limit for an event to occur.

Can within be used to denote immediacy?

Yes, within can denote something happening immediately or very soon in time limits.

Can we use during to refer to future events?

Yes, during can be used to refer to the time frame of future events.

Does within indicate completion of actions?

Yes, within often indicates that an action will be completed in a set time frame.

Does during imply ongoing actions?

Yes, during often implies actions or events that are ongoing in a specific time frame.

Can during be replaced by while in some cases?

Yes, in some contexts, during can be replaced by while when denoting simultaneous actions.

Can during be used to refer to the entire time of an event?

Yes, during can refer to the whole time an event is happening.

Can within be used with specific numbers?

Yes, within is often used with specific numbers to denote exact time limits.

Is within used for past events?

Within can be used for events in the past, present, or future as it denotes time constraints.

Is within a synonym for inside?

In some contexts, within can be a synonym for inside, especially referring to spatial limits.

Can during and within be used interchangeably?

No, during and within have different uses and are not generally interchangeable.

Can during be used to indicate duration?

While during indicates the time frame in which events occur, it doesn’t explicitly denote duration.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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