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Jen’s English Tip Today – a while vs. awhile – The Correct Way to Use Each

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What is the difference between “a while” and “awhile”?”A while” is a time, a noun.

The article “a” before “while” is a sure sign that you’re dealing with a noun. Notice in the following sentence that you could replace “a while” with another article-noun combination such as “a year”:It’s been a while since Squiggly tried marmite.”Awhile” means “for a time” and it’s an adverb.

Notice in the following sentence that you could replace “awhile” with another adverb such as “quietly”:Go play awhile.Finally, just to make it confusing, if you rephrase the previous sentence and replace the adverb with a prepositional phrase, you need the noun again because an adverb can’t be the object of the preposition.Go play for a while.

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