How Waiting for a While Is Better Than Waiting for Awhile. In this case, the difficulty of deciding what form is correct is complicated by the fact that a number of noun phrases can function as adverbs. Here are more articles to help you with English words, grammar, and essay writing. —Jayne O'Donnell, USA Today, 27 June 2011. 'All Intensive Purposes' or 'All Intents and Purposes'? In the three sentences given above, there is only one that is incorrect—the first one. Collocations are words that are often used together and are brilliant at providing natural sounding language for your speech and writing. —Constance C. R. White, Essence, November 2012, Living deep in the Pennsylvania woods a while back, I became familiar with the trees that shaded my house and provided fuel for the stove…. When you use awhile, you are using an adverb that means. The two-word expression a while is the article a plus the noun while, which means "a period of time" (as in "stay here for a while") or "the time and effort used" (as in "worth your while"). As a noun, it can serve as the object of a preposition, and this is what it does in the example: “The children played for a while in the rain and now they are sopping wet.”. You can also substitute the phrase "for a while" for the one-word form in your context to help you decide. When you use awhile, you need to drop the preposition for: “The children played awhile in the rain and now they are sopping wet.”. All Rights Reserved. September’s Words in the News explain all. (conjunction); While I respect your point of view, I am concerned about some of its implications. It is not restricted to this part of speech. In the second example, at the beginning of this article, while is used as a noun. Which is correct? The children played for awhile in the rain and now they are sopping wet. Perhaps having to wait awhile isn't an entirely bad thing. Trump touts rally successes, stare decisis There are some words that seem to be of perennial interest, so if you compare the list of words that were looked up most often in March with the words that were looked up most often in September, you will find a lot of words appearing on both lists. Is it a while or awhile? And best of all it's ad free, so sign up now and start using at home or in the classroom. These adverbial noun phrases beginning with a and a space make it difficult to say that a while should not be used in such contexts. One can’t whinge, and this route can wait a while until the powerful herd of 25 creamy cattle have eaten their way through. Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words? How to use a word that (literally) drives some pe... Name that government! Or something like that. You can follow your own feel for the expression and write it as one word when that seems right and as two words when that seems right. Let’s clear up the confusion so that you will know how to use these words correctly. There are, therefore, a few things you can do. Which, do you suppose, is correct? —Elizabeth McKenzie, The Saturday Evening Post, January/February 2012, Prices were going up rapidly nine months ago, peaked awhile back, and now, we're starting to see cotton prices go down and be more stable. —Laurence A. Marschall, Natural History, May 2015. The children played for a while in the rain and now they are sopping wet. The Press (York, UK), 2005 But I suspect that Hillary Clinton will wait awhile until more of these precincts have reported. Is it a while or awhile? Generally, you should use the two word form, "a while," when following a preposition (I will read for a while), or with the words ago or back (a while ago/back). in the rain and now they are sopping wet,”, in the rain and now they are sopping wet.”, children played awhile in the rain and now they are sopping wet.”, and not as an object (noun) following the preposition. —Amy Bertrand, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 5 July 2015. 'Nip it in the butt' or 'Nip it in the bud'. Here are three sentences using these words. There are many diverse influences on the way that English is used across the world today. Legal term spikes during SCOTUS hearings, fly From moonshoot to balconing: discover the latest words added to the Collins Dictionary. a computer hacker who is hired by an organization to undertake nonmalicious hacking work in order to discover computer-security flaws, 'Hepatomegaly' and 'hydronephrosis' are among the most frequently looked-up words in September. When the touch-me-not plant is touched, its leaves fold up. In the second example, at the beginning of this article. Most grammarians feel that awhile should only be used to modify a verb and a while should be used after prepositions or in phrases like a while ago or a while back. All the latest wordy news, linguistic insights, offers and competitions every month. © 2010 English Essay Writing Tips.com Wait-a-while definition at Dictionary.com, a free online dictionary with pronunciation, synonyms and translation. But do they have to be so strange that Area 51 is making headlines? We have almost 200 lists of words from topics as varied as types of butterflies, jackets, currencies, vegetables and knots! Awhile is an adverb that means "for a while," whereas "while" is a noun meaning "a period of time." Create an account and sign in to access this FREE content. Study guides for every stage of your learning journey. Look it up now! —Liza Mundy, The Atlantic, June 2015, She was having computer trouble, she told him, and would be offline for a while. Awhile means for a short time. The word awhile is an adverb meaning \"for a while.\" The two-word expression a while is the article a plus the noun while, which means \"a period of time\" (as in \"stay here for a while\") or \"the time and effort used\" (as in \"worth your while\"). It should be clear now that waiting for a while is better than waiting for awhile and that you should always wait awhile to think and choose the correct expression. boffo In fact, some people who observe language patterns note that the usage of awhile after a preposition or with words like ago or back is becoming so common that it may eventually become standard. We look at some of the ways in which the language is changing. It is obvious that both awhile and a while are in wide use in places where some language commentators believe the opposite form belongs. Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free! Learn a new word every day. Set your young readers up for lifelong success, 'Cordial': A Word Straight from the Heart, Study Up With Our Official SCRABBLE Dictionary. (verb), How familiar are you with the confusion of, Here are more articles to help you with English, Copyright © 2011 by English Essay Writing Tips. I’m sure a lot of people would agree that we live in strange times. (conjunction); Justin had only three days left to work on his assignment, while Emily had five days left to work on hers. Consider these examples. Download our English Dictionary apps - available for both iOS and Android. The children played awhile in the rain and now they are sopping wet. Delivered to your inbox! And what’s this about fish the look like aliens. These words are a source of confusion for many who have to write essays and other papers. CNN transcripts, 2008. You can get a certain insight into human nature from analysing the words that people look up in dictionaries. Fly steals focus during debate. Read our series of blogs to find out more. Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. Son of Citation Machine automatically generates citations in MLA, APA, Chicago, and Turabian. Seeing that awhile means for a while, if you write, “The children played for awhile in the rain and now they are sopping wet,”, “The children played for for a while in the rain and now they are sopping wet.”. It is more commonly spelled 'a while', which is considered more correct, especially in British English. Check out words from the year you were born and more! by Owen Fourie. (conjunction); I would like the children to stay inside while it is raining. How familiar are you with the confusion of awhile and while? The online version of the Collins Dictionary has just been updated again, with another batch of new words and meanings inspired by the events of the summer. (noun); I earned so little doing that job; it wasn’t worth my while. It must not be written awhile, which, as already noted, is an adverb and does not take a preposition. Amaze your friends with your new-found knowledge! The rules governing usage of the adverb and phrase are frequently broken, however. Area 51, Starship, and Harvest Moon: September’s Words in the News. —Gary Miller, National Geographic Explorer, March 2012, He said Miller was down on his luck and that he wanted to help him out for awhile. The children played for awhile in the rain and now they are sopping wet. The children played for a while in the rain and now they are sopping wet. —Mark Warren, Esquire, April 2015, At a luncheon I attended recently, a speaker shared with the audience something I had said a while ago. Which, do you suppose, is correct? Both a while and awhile are correct, but awhile tends to be the word that is used incorrectly. 'A while' is typically used after a preposition: "I'm going to read for a while longer.". (noun); It was pleasant while it lasted. When while is used in this way, it is preceded by the indefinite article a as a separate word. In the tab bar, click on ESSAY WRITING, GRAMMAR, WORDS, and SELF HELP for links to all the articles on this website and to related items on other websites. If you don't trust your own feeling for language that far, you can use a rule of thumb based on the consensus of the handbooks: use a while after a preposition and before ago or back, and use awhile in other places.