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Difference between Awhile and While

Difference between Awhile and While

There is a difference between awhile and while, and it’s important to be mindful of which one you’re using. The main distinction is that “awhile” is used when referring to a specific, finite amount of time, while “while” can be used either when referring to a specific time or when no specific time is given. In general, “while” is preferred in most cases. For example, you might say “I’m going to stay here for awhile” to mean that you’ll stay for a certain period of time, but you might say “I’ll be here while you finish your meal” to mean that you’ll remain at the restaurant until your companion has finished eating.

What is Awhile?

Awhile is a relatively new word, first appearing in the early 19th century. It originally meant “for a while,” but over time it has come to be used as a synonym for “while.” While this usage is considered standard in American English, it is still considered somewhat informal. A similar word, “awhile,” has a similar meaning but is used more formal contexts. In general, “awhile” is preferred when speaking or writing formally, while “a while” is more appropriate in casual settings.

What is While?

While the word is a conjunction that is used to connect two clauses, usually indicating that the second clause is happening at the same time as the first. While can be used as either a noun or an adverb, it is considered subordinating conjunction. While is used to introduce a subordinate clause and must be followed by a subject and verb. For example, “ While I was studying for my exams, my cat slept on my lap.” In this sentence, the subordinate clause “While I was studying for my exams” is introduced by while. The subject of the subordinate clause is “I” and the verb is “was studying.” The main clause of the sentence is “my cat slept on my lap,” which indicates that the sleeping was happening at the same time as the studying. While can also be used as an adverb to introduce an adverbial clause. For example, “ While she was walking to work, she saw a dog.” In this sentence, the adverbial clause “While she was walking to work” is introduced by while.

Difference between Awhile and While

Awhile and while are often used interchangeably, but there is actually a subtle difference between the two words. Awhile should be used when referring to a period of time, whereas while should be used when referring to an ongoing action. For example, you might say “I’m going to read for awhile” to indicate that you will be reading for a specific period of time. On the other hand, you might say “I read while he talked on the phone” to indicate that you were reading at the same time as he was talking on the phone. In summary, awhile refers to a period of time, while while refers to an ongoing action.


Awhile and while are two words that are often confused because they sound so similar. However, there is a big difference between the two. While is a conjunction meaning “during the time that” or “as long as.” Awhile is an adverb meaning “for a little while.” So, if you want to say that you will do something for a certain amount of time, use while. If you just want to take a break for a bit, use awhile. Hopefully, this article has cleared up any confusion about these two words!

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