Friday, December 10, 2010

Awhile vs. A While

This Friday Fix is dedicated to Nicole, to whom I give thanks for catapulting me from blog-neglect to mixin' it up again on the Fix. At least for this week. :-)

The conundrum? Whether to use "awhile" or "a while." And they really are two different beasts.

The oracle at explains beautifully:

A while is a noun meaning “a length of time”
•“I slept for a while.”
- (compare with “I slept for a bit” and “I slept for three hours”)
“I was away from my desk for a while.”
- (compare with “I was away from my desk for two minutes”)

Awhile is an adverb, meaning “for a time,” or literally, “for a while”.
•“I slept awhile before dinner.”
(compare with “I slept deeply before dinner” and “I slept badly before dinner”.)

As you can see, the words can be used almost interchangeably in some cases – but a while needs to be accompanied by a preposition, such as “for” (“I slept for a while”) or “ago” (“I left work a while ago”). Awhile always means “for a while”.

Dig? So let's practice; which are correct?

A. I had to stop studying awhile because my eyes were crossing.

B. Let's walk for a while and see where we end up.

C. Ugh, that Tobasco sauce had me worried there for awhile.

D. I'd love to spend a while soaking up your awesome presence.

If you chose A & B you are a winner!!! There's no prize, but you are definitely a WINNER! Soak that up for awhile, er. . . a while. :-)


Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

Girlfriend I am so in need of writing tips! Love you posted these.
Love ya girl!

apronsandappetites said...

Well, I just now found you! And how simple it was after all. I can't wait to read through your blog; it's great. :)