Grammar Minute: A While

Awhile = for a while

The end.

Seriously, use awhile only in a contexts that mean “for a period of time.” Here, awhile is the same as “for a while.” For all other situations, it is “a while.”

  • I’m going to read awhile. (I’m going to read for a while.)
  • I will be a while at the market.
  • They’ve been dating awhile. (They’ve been dating for a period of time.)
  • They broke up a while ago.

Again, “a while” is a noun phrase that means “a period of time.” “Awhile” is an adverb that means “for a while.” That’s it! if you get confused, ask yourself if you can insert “for” in front of “a while” and have the sentence make sense. If not, “a while” is two words.

P.S. Doesn’t the word awhile always looks as if it’s spelled incorrectly? Maybe it’s just me.