“For The Time Being” vs. “In The Meantime” – Difference Explained

The phrases “for the time being” and “in the meantime” are both very similar. We use them when we want to talk about something happening and continuing to happen in the present tense. This article will look at what the differences might be between them.

What Is The Difference Between “For The Time Being” And “In The Meantime”?

You should use “for the time being” when talking about doing something for a limited time frame (i.e., “I’ll work on this for the time being”). You should use “in the meantime” when talking about doing something while something else happens or waiting for something expected.

What Is The Difference Between "For The Time Being" And "In The Meantime"?

The meanings work almost interchangeably, but the difference is important to distinguish. “For the time being” implies that we don’t have anything that we’re waiting for, and we’re happy to continue working on or start working on something in the present.

“In the meantime” is used when we have got something else to focus on, but we’re happy to work on something else until something expected happens that we’re waiting for. We use “in the meantime” to kill time waiting for something else to happen.

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What Does “For The Time Being” Mean?

Let’s take a closer look at the meaning of each of the phrases. This will help you to have a better understanding of how they work.

“For the time being” means that we will work on something for a limited time. There’s nothing telling us when we should finish or when we should continue until. We’re just happy to occupy our time with whatever that thing is.

The definition of “for the time being,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “at this time.”

What Does “In The Meantime” Mean?

“In the meantime” has a bit more of a focus on something else. Usually, there’s a given time frame where we can do something, and it happens when we’re waiting for something else (that we expect).

“In the meantime” means we’re going to keep working until something we already expect happens. It could be something we do to occupy our time while letting another task run its course.

The definition of “meantime,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “until something expected happens, or while something else is happening.”

Examples Of How To Use “For The Time Being” In A Sentence

Some examples might help you to understand them slightly better. We’ll start with “for the time being.”

  1. I’m going to keep working on this for the time being.
  2. For the time being, I’d like you to focus on the project at hand.
  3. You’ll have to find alternative work for the time being.
  4. For the time being, please make yourself available should we need you.
  5. You should focus on your health for the time being.
  6. Make sure you’re not wasting your days for the time being, and we’ll let you know the results soon.
  7. For the time being, it’s best if you don’t lift any heavy weights until we know more.

“For the time being” works when we want to give someone an unspecified amount of time before they might be able to do something else. Generally, we can use it as a standalone sentence, waiting around for something else to happen.

We might use “for the time being” when we can’t specify an amount of time. This works best when dealing with unpredictable things, or things that might take much longer than we imagine to complete.

Medical results, job opportunities, parcel deliveries, and things like that are all unpredictable, making “for the time being” a great choice to use for them.

Examples Of How To Use “In The Meantime” In A Sentence

“In the meantime” requires a specified time before we can use it. For this reason, the examples will have to include an extra sentence that people have to wait for.

  1. The washing machine will take another hour before it’s done. In the meantime, we should watch some TV.
  2. The internet is down, and won’t be back up for a while. We should play some board games in the meantime.
  3. We have thirty minutes before he gets here. In the meantime, what would you like to talk about?
  4. We have about three hours until the gig. What should we do in the meantime?
  5. Our food won’t be here for another fifty minutes. In the meantime, I think we should play a few games.
  6. Apparently, he’ll be here within thirty minutes. What should we talk about in the meantime?
  7. There are only twenty minutes left on the clock. Would you like to sit and wait for me in the meantime?

“In the meantime” works really well when we’ve already specified an amount of time. We usually talk about doing something or achieving a task while something else is happening. Once the expected time has passed, it’s likely that the “meantime” is over.

We included two sentences in each example to demonstrate how “meantime” works. We have to include some way to specify an amount of time; otherwise, there’s no way that “meantime” works.

“For The Time Being” – Synonyms

Some synonyms might benefit you if you’re struggling with the differences between the two. You can use any of the following to replace the meaning of “for the time being:”

  • For now
  • At this time
  • For the moment
  • For the present
  • In the interim
  • For a little while
  • Momentarily
  • For the minute

These synonyms work well to replace “for the time being.” All of them means that we’re doing something for an unspecified amount of time.

“In The Meantime” – Synonyms

“In the meantime” is a little different, so we need different alternatives and synonyms to work with it. These are the best choices you can use:

  • While we wait
  • While waiting
  • Until then
  • Until that happens
  • In the meanwhile
  • Meanwhile
  • During that time
  • Before that happens
  • Before then

These synonyms work when we want to replace “in the meantime.” They all mean that we’re waiting for something else to happen, so we’re going to do something to occupy our time.

Common Confusions About “For The Time Being”

There are plenty of common confusions that people make using “for the time being.” This section is for those of you that haven’t quite grasped it yet. Hopefully, after this, you’ll have a much better understanding of it.

What Is The Difference Between “For The Time Being” And “For Now”?

“For the time being” means that we’re going to do something until an unspecified time. “For now” means that we’re going to do something in the present, though there’s no deadline on when that thing might end.

The meanings are fairly close, and it’s okay to use them interchangeably in most cases. However, “for the time being” is much more general, allowing us to talk about something that has an end, while “for now” just means “at present.”

Some examples might help you understand them slightly better.

  • For the time being, I’m going to watch the children.
  • For now, we’re going to make sure we’re ready!

What Is The Difference Between “For The Time Being” And “For A While”?

“For the time being” means we’re doing something for an unspecified amount of time, though we’re generally waiting on something else while we do it. “For a while” means we’re happy to do something for a short period of time, though we don’t want to do it for too long.

Again, these phrases are very similar, and most people will use them interchangeably. However, that’s not always correct, especially because “for a while” generally means we don’t want to do something for a particularly long time, while “for the time being” can be much longer.

  • For the time being, I’m going to do whatever I can to help.
  • I’ll help you for a while, but I’m a very busy man.

What Is The Difference Between “For The Time Being” And “For The Moment”?

“For the time being” works for an unspecified period of time, though it can be a very long amount of time. “For the moment” implies we’re only working on something for a short amount of time (which is the definition of “moment”).

The length of time it takes to do something is what’s most important here. “Time being” is much longer than “moment,” meaning we’re willing to commit more time to whatever it is.

  • For the time being, I’ll use my abilities for good.
  • For the moment, I suppose I can help you learn how to use your laptop. I don’t have long, though.

Is It “For The Time Being” Or “For The Time Been”?

“For the time being” is correct. We need to use the correct verb form of “be,” which is only “being” as the present participle. “For the time been” is incorrect, as “been” is the past tense verb.

Is It “For The Time Being” Or “In The Time Being”?

“For the time being” is correct because “for” in this case refers to an amount of time. It’s the only correct preposition to use, and “in the time being” is incorrect.

Is It “For The Time Being” Or “For The TimeBeing”?

“For the time being” is correct because “time being” needs to be two words. It means that we’re allowing “time” “to be” while we do something else. “For the timebeing” is incorrect.

Is It “For The Time Being” Or “For The Time Be”?

“For the time being” is correct because we need the present participle “being” for the phrase to make sense. “For the time be” uses the infinitive form of “to be,” which is incorrect.

Is Time Being Hyphenated?

“Time being” is not hyphenated because it is not modifying a noun in the sentence. We should leave it as two separate words whenever we use it in this way.

Common Confusions About “In The Meantime”

There are also some common confusions that occur when people want to write “in the meantime.” Luckily, these ones aren’t as difficult to figure out, and most of them are fairly interchangeable.

What Is The Difference Between “In The Meantime” And “Meanwhile”?

There is no difference between “in the meantime” and “meanwhile.” Both phrases are synonymous with each other, and both mean that we do something until something expected happens to stop us from continuing.

We can use them both in the same way, which means we never have to worry about confusing the two.

You might see them both as follows:

  • We’re going to be about thirty more minutes. What do you think we should tell them in the meantime?
  • He’s going to be three minutes late. Should we start without him meanwhile?

Is It Ever Correct To Use “In The Meanwhile”?

“In the meanwhile” is correct to use, and it’s another synonymous phrase with “in the meantime.” It means the same thing and simply replaces “meantime” with “meanwhile.”

We can use “in the meanwhile” in exactly the same way. To demonstrate this, we’ll include two identical examples:

  • The washing will take another twenty minutes. Shall we have some food in the meantime?
  • The washing will take another twenty minutes. Shall we have some food in the meanwhile?

Is It “In The Meantime” Or “For The Meantime”?

“In the meantime” is correct here because we need to use “in” as the preposition to talk about being “inside” of the “meantime.” This means that it’s a specific time frame that we are within, waiting for something else to happen. “For the meantime” is incorrect here.

Is It “In The Meantime” Or “In The Mean time”?

“In the meantime” is correct because “meantime” is one word. We use it to talk about a specific amount of time before something expected happens. “In the mean time” is incorrect because we can never turn “mean time” into two words.

Can “Meantime” Be Used On Its Own?

“Meantime” cannot be used on its own. We always need to use “in the” when we want to write it; otherwise, we’re using it incorrectly. “Meanwhile” is usable without any prepositions, but “meantime” is not.

  • Correct: Meanwhile, I’m going to be there for him.
  • Incorrect: Meantime, I’m going to be there for him.
  • Correct: In the meantime, I’m going to be there for him.

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