a while


a while
awhile, a while
Both expressions have the same origin in the word while, but it should be noted that awhile is strictly adverbial whereas a while is a noun phrase (very often preceded by for):

• When he reached the street-sign he stopped awhile and stood beneath it —Colin Dexter, 1983

• I'm going away for a while —B. Neil, 1993.

Confusion is aggravated by the fact that a while, although a noun phrase, can also have a semi-adverbial function: We had to wait a long while [= for a long while].

Modern English usage. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • While — While, n. [AS. hw[=i]l; akin to OS. hw[=i]l, hw[=i]la, OFries. hw[=i]le, D. wigl, G. weile, OHG. w[=i]la, hw[=i]la, hw[=i]l, Icel. hv[=i]la a bed, hv[=i]ld rest, Sw. hvila, Dan. hvile, Goth. hweila a time, and probably to L. quietus quiet, and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks — (also known as While Shepherds Watched or The Vision of the Shepherds ) is a Christmas carol with words attributed to Irish hymnist, lyricist and Poet Laureate, Nahum Tate.HistoryThe exact date of Tate s composition is not known, but the words… …   Wikipedia

  • While My Guitar Gently Weeps — «While My Guitar Gently Weeps» Canción de The Beatles Álbum The Beatles Publicación 22 de noviembre de 1968 …   Wikipedia Español

  • while — [hwīl, wīl] n. [ME < OE hwil, akin to Ger weile < IE base * kweye , to rest > L quies, quiet] a period or space of time [a short while] conj. 1. during or throughout the time that [we waited while she dined] 2. at the same time that… …   English World dictionary

  • while — ► NOUN 1) (a while) a period of time. 2) (a while) for some time. 3) (the while) at the same time; meanwhile. 4) (the while) literary during the time that. ► …   English terms dictionary