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KatRiley
08-25-2006, 06:09 AM
Sorry if this is a repeat, but I didn't find anything when searching the forum.

Which is correct - a while, or awhile?

Popeyesays
08-25-2006, 06:36 AM
Sorry if this is a repeat, but I didn't find anything when searching the forum.

Which is correct - a while, or awhile?

I think either under certain circumstances.

"We waited a while". Here 'while' is modified by the particular adjective 'a'.

"Awhile later, it happened." Here 'awhile' is a specific thing.

Anyway, that probably muddies the water, but it's what I do when pondering the usage.

Regards,
Scott

KatRiley
08-25-2006, 06:41 AM
So -

"It would be a while before..." instead of "It would be awhile before..."?

Popeyesays
08-25-2006, 07:28 AM
So -

"It would be a while before..." instead of "It would be awhile before..."?

That's the way I play it, but don't worry there will be somebody along who will say different before too long.

Regards,
Scott

trumancoyote
08-25-2006, 12:16 PM
'Awhile' can't have a preposition in front of it.

Otherwise, I think they're pretty interchangeable, with a slight nod to 'a while' being preferred as the object of a preposition.

alleycat
08-25-2006, 12:22 PM
Just remember that "awhile" is an adverb, and "a while" is a noun phrase. So whichever use you're making of the word/phrase makes the difference in which form to use.

ac

rekirts
08-25-2006, 06:52 PM
This clarified it a bit more for me.


When “awhile” is spelled as a single word, it is an adverb meaning “for a time” (“stay awhile”); but when “while” is the object of a prepositional phrase, like “Lend me your monkey wrench for a while” the “while” must be separated from the “a.” (But if the preposition “for” were lacking in this sentence, “awhile” could be used in this way: “Lend me your monkey wrench awhile.”)

From here. (http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/awhile.html)