Main Difference – Awhile vs A While
Awhile and a while have the same meaning. They both indicate a short period of time. However, there is a grammatical difference between awhile and a while, and this difference affects the way in which this word is used in a sentence. The main difference between awhile and a while is that awhile is an adverb whereas a while is a noun preceded by an indefinite article.
Awhile – Meaning and Usage
Awhile is an adverb. It refers to a short period of time. You can understand the meaning of this adverb by reading the following examples.
Wait here awhile.
We waited awhile for it to start.
The president delayed the decision awhile, but eventually he had to make a choice.
He watched her actions awhile and stood up to retaliate.
He rested awhile before the competition.
After watching their first performance, he decided to stay awhile.
Can we stay here awhile longer?
Since awhile is an adverb, it does not follow any prepositions. It can replace the phrase, ‘for a while’. Although some people think that awhile is a new word, recently added to English, this word has been in existence for a long time. However, we don’t really use this word much.
A while – Meaning and Usage
A while is a two-word phrase. A is an indefinite article and while is a noun. Therefore, a while consists of a noun preceded by an indefinite article. The noun, while refers to a period of time. The main difference between awhile and a while is that a while is often followed by a preposition whereas awhile is not. Look at the following examples to observe this distinction.
We danced for a while.
He was away from the desk for a while.
It’s been a while since you visited us.
I haven’t seen you for a while.
I’ll be there in a while.
We assumed that this rumor has been around for a while.
They all believed him for a while, but then they began to notice his odd behavior.
If you are still not sure about the usage of these two words, the best solution is to stick to ‘a while’ since it is the most known word of the two. But always keep in mind that a while is nearly always preceded by prepositions such as for and in.
Difference Between Awhile and A While
Awhile is an adverb.
A While is a noun phrase.
Awhile is a single word.
A While consists of two words: a noun and an article.
Awhile is not preceded by a preposition.
A While is often followed by a preposition.
Awhile can be replaced by ‘for a while’.
A While cannot be replaced by awhile.