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a while, awhile

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  Ed Good  —  Grammar Tips
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Awhile is an adverb that will most commonly follow a verb. (Could you wait awhile?)

A while is a noun form and usually appears after a preposition (usually for or in). The main confusion here is that both can be used in very similar sentences:

Sit awhile (adverb) and Sit for a while (noun) are both correct.

The key is to look for the preposition. If you see one of those little words, you should use a while.

Note also that while is a subordinating conjunction, which starts dependent clauses.

Example: While she waited for the bus, the lady rested for a while on the bench. The bus came awhile later.

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1 Comment
  • stephenw.52630
    This is a frequently misunderstood one. Many people, especially online, chronically write "I haven't seen him in awhile" or "It's been awhile since we went to Italy," etc. My understanding is that awhile is ALWAYS an adverb and can never be preceded by "for, in," etc. 
    LikeReplyReport1 year ago


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