Awhile vs A While

Awhile vs A while

The main difference between awhile and a while is the part of speech. While awhile is an adverb and means for a while, while a while is a noun meaning a period of time.

Awhile vs A While

AwhilevsA while
Awhile is an adverb that means “for a period of time.”MeaningA while is a noun phrase that means “a period of time.”
AdverbParts Of SpeechNoun
Not preceded by the prepositionIs Any Preposition Required?Followed by preposition

What Does Awhile Mean?

The word awhile is a single-word adverb that modifies verbs. It refers to for a short time or for some time. The term awhile doesn’t follow a preposition and can replace the phrase for a while.

Awhile is not a new addition to English and has existed for a long time, but we don’t use it often. 

If you want to use it in a sentence where you could easily replace awhile for temporarily, you are using this adverb correctly. 

Examples of Awhile 

  • Can you please wait here awhile?
  • Hey, Ramsey will be away for awhile.
  • He thought about it for awhile before agreeing.
  • We talked in the café for awhile.
  • We waited awhile for him to start.
  • The President delayed the decision for awhile
  • Miranda watched her favorite action film for awhile.
  • You should take proper rest awhile before your final competition.
  • After watching their last performance in the concert, we decided to stay awhile.
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Synonyms of Awhile 

  • Briefly
  • Momentarily
  • Jiffy
  • Soon
  • Moment
  • Shortly
Awhile vs A While
This person will come inside in awhile after checking emails.

What Does A While Mean?

The term a while is a two-word version of awhile. It’s a noun phrase containing the indefinite article a. Like all nouns, it can also be modified by adjectives. 

A while is commonly used in lots of phrases and sentences. It’s used to refer to an unspecified amount of time. However, there is no limitation to the time.

A while is also called a prepositional phrase

Use Cases

When something has not happened for a long time, we say: 

  • It’s been a while since it happened.

When something takes very long to occur, we say:

  • It takes quite a while.

If something happened long ago, we say:

  • It happened a while ago. 

The term is followed by a word that measures time, such as a while ago, a while back, and a while since

If you want to use it in a sentence where you could easily replace a while for a moment, you’re using this noun phrase correctly. 

Awhile vs A while
This employee has been at work for a while.

Examples of A While 

  • We sang the wedding song for a while.
  • Adam, it’s been a while since you visited my mom in New York.
  • Yes, the guests will be here in a while.
  • He should come over for a while.
  • I’ll see you in a while.
  • Amanda came back after a while.
  • Today, we will watch Netflix for a while.
  • Please grant me a break for a while.
  • I’ll be back from the departmental store in a while.

Synonyms of A While

  • Now 
  • Sometimes
  • Occasionally
  • Recurrently
  • Periodically

Difference Between Awhile and A While

Both awhile and a while refer to a period of time, but one is written with a space while the other is one word.

See Also:  Further Vs Farther

In some instances, they can be used interchangeably when describing a brief period of time, for example. 

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Vanessa is passionate about written communication, especially after beginning her career as a middle school English teacher. She’s an experienced content marketer as well. Vanessa loves to analyze, compare, and contrast, which is why she writes for ContrastHub. Besides writing, Vanessa is a wife, mom, entrepreneur, spicy food enthusiast, comedy nerd and lifelong learner.

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