Although the two expressions are generally used the same way, their literal meanings are different. I've been meaning to write this post for a while, because the difference between awhile and a while has plagued me for years. “In a while” and the now obsolete “within a while” were first recorded about 1380, the OED says. If you are an old subscriber and not getting posts, please subscribe again. 7. While we’re at it, you might be interested in a post we ran back in 2006 about “a while” versus “awhile,” and a post in 2008 about the use of “while” to mean “although,” “whereas,” or “during the time that.”. Awhile vs a while. —Mark Warren, Esquire, April 2015, At a luncheon I attended recently, a speaker shared with the audience something I had said a while ago. 6. 5. —Constance C. R. White, Essence, November 2012, Living deep in the Pennsylvania woods a while back, I became familiar with the trees that shaded my house and provided fuel for the stove…. Awhile vs. A While Our free guide gives you a fun way to teach and learn the basics. In fact, some people who observe language patterns note that the usage of awhile after a preposition or with words like ago or back is becoming so common that it may eventually become standard. —Gary Miller, National Geographic Explorer, March 2012, He said Miller was down on his luck and that he wanted to help him out for awhile. 'All Intensive Purposes' or 'All Intents and Purposes'? Awhile The word "while" is basically a conjunction, used in several contexts as a reference to time, to a certain period, most frequently as a synonym for "during". Most grammarians feel that awhile should only be used to modify a verb and a while should be used after prepositions or in phrases like a while ago or a while back. “In a while” and the now obsolete “within a while” were first recorded about 1380, the OED says. While I was in Canada, I had some strange experiences. 78. Biden projected 46th President. The singular word "awhile" should be used to modify a verb (I will wait awhile) and can usually replace any usage of "for a while.". For example, agreeing to do a task “in a while” sounds more accommodating than agreeing to do it “after a while.”, And in certain constructions, “in” is more idiomatic—“once in a while” … “see you in a while.” But in others, “after” might seem more natural—“After a while, the pain subsided” … “After a while, we decided to leave.”. I will meet you during lunchtime. My family lived in Australia for five years. (= 'I fell asleep in the middle of watching television.') “Bowled in a T20 tie at Chepauk after quite a while and it felt nice: Balaji” Times of India Consider these examples. 10. Delivered to your inbox! Generally, your ear will choose one for you. monolith —Elizabeth McKenzie, The Saturday Evening Post, January/February 2012, Prices were going up rapidly nine months ago, peaked awhile back, and now, we're starting to see cotton prices go down and be more stable. Enter your email address to subscribe to the blog by email. Both “in a while” and “after a while” have been common English phrases for hundreds of years. In the earlier post, we mention that “while” comes from a prehistoric Indo-European root meaning “rest” or “repose,” and it entered Old English from Germanic sources. 79. You can also substitute the phrase "for a while" for the one-word form in your context to help you decide. You can follow your own feel for the expression and write it as one word when that seems right and as two words when that seems right. After awhile, the plant goes back to normal. I will meet you during lunchtime. Is the apostrophe in this tweet used incorrectly? To this day, it remains one of the band’s most recognizable songs, in no small part due to its emotional content and the lead singer Aaron Lewis’s powerful vocals. 26 comments. When while is used in this way, it is preceded by the indefinite article a as a separate word. 8. Using 'while' Understanding grammar is key to understanding a language. There’s very little difference between “in a while” and “after a while,” and for the most part they’re interchangeable. The phrase a while generally means “a period, length or interval of time”. On the other side, there is frequent use of a while as an adverb. The Oxford English Dictionary says that the noun phrase “a while” means “a time, esp. Object found in Utah desert, recant It is also obvious that using awhile or a while makes no great difference to the reader. A While vs. It’s of little consequence whether something occurs within or following a time that’s general and unspecified. While: While shows us that something happens at the same time something else is happening. English grammar tips with Gymglish, online English lessons. And “after” in reference to time means “subsequent to, following the interval of, at the conclusion of (a period of time),” the OED says. "Awhile", on the other hand, is an adverb. I was on holiday in / during June. I thought “Awhile” , “A while” meant a long period of time. I was on holiday in / during June. Posted by 5 days ago. Although it would probably be more common to use When I lived in India , this sentence is correct. It didn't rain at all while we were on holiday. English grammar tips with Gymglish, online English lessons. Close • Posted by 1 ... More posts from the grammar community. It’s of little consequence whether something occurs, And in certain constructions, “in” is more idiomatic—“once in a while” … “see you in a while.”, But in others, “after” might seem more natural—“After a while, the pain subsided” … “After a while, we decided to leave.”, “In a while” and the now obsolete “within a while” were first recorded about 1380, the, While we’re at it, you might be interested in a post we ran back in, Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window). 9. Awhile is an adverb that means "for a while," whereas "while" is a noun meaning "a period of time." Perhaps having to wait awhile isn't an entirely bad thing. So as a noun, "while" or "a while" defines a certain period of time, either short or long. The shop was closed during the whole of last month. a short or moderate time,” and that it’s used chiefly with the prepositions “after,” “for,” and “in.”. So, if you replace awhile / a while with an adverb and the sentence still makes sense, then use awhile (one word). So “after a while” literally means following a short or moderate time. It must not be written awhile , which, as already noted, is an adverb and does not take a preposition. 7. 6. I have noticed that people out West say, “after a while” in situations where I would say, “in a while.” Which is grammatically correct? The word awhile is an adverb meaning \"for a while.\" The two-word expression a while is the article a plus the noun while, which means \"a period of time\" (as in \"stay here for a while\") or \"the time and effort used\" (as in \"worth your while\"). The 'Nip it in the butt' or 'Nip it in the bud'. Its stem droops. Grammar Girl explains the difference between "a while" and "awhile," using example sentences so you can be sure to get it right. 79. It can be a noun, a conjunction, or a verb, as in this sentence: “For a while, we whiled away our time while answering your question.”, Check out our books about the English language. save hide report. English speakers seem to choose one or the other at will. 'A while' is typically used after a preposition: "I'm going to read for a while longer.". The word awhile is an adverb meaning "for a while."
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