Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Those Nagging Little Problems (Part 7 of 16)

What’s the difference between a while (two words) and awhile (one)? Here’s the rule: A while is an article and a noun and normally comes after the preposition for. When you use two words, you’re going to use a noun and refer to a period of time.

Example: It has been a while since I saw you. You could substitute another article-noun, such as a month: It’s been a month since I saw you. If that makes sense, you’ve made the correct choice.

Awhile (one word) is an adverb and means “for a short time.” Go dance for awhile—that is, dance for a few minutes.

This bothered me for years, until I figured out that a while is a noun phrase.


  1. Cec, I've been uncertain about this too. Will save for future reference. Thanks!

  2. Thank you, the difference between "a while" and "awhile" has bothered me for years, too.

    "A while is a noun phrase, a while is a noun phrase, a while is a noun phrase." Got it! :-)


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