英会話のコツ:"awhile" vs. "a while"

Recently a student asked a great question about the difference between "awhile" and "a while". These words can be tricky so let's look at how to use the two.

 

The two-word expression a while is a noun(名詞), consisting of the article a and the noun whilewhich means “a short period of time".

The one-word awhile is an adverb(副詞), which means “for a short period of time”. 

 

Although the two have similar definitions and can sometimes be used interchangeably here are some rules to help you keep them straight.

 

The noun phrase a while can (and often does) follow a preposition(前置詞), such as for or in.

  • Ben said he would be here in a while. ( = He is not here now, but is coming)
  • I talked to my friend for a while. 

The adverb awhile cannot follow a preposition(前置詞).

  • You should rest awhile( = you should rest for a while)
  • Ben said he would be here awhile ( = Ben is here and will stay for a while

 

The base word while is most commonly a conjunction(接続詞), meaning duringalthough, or throughout the time.

  • I ate kakipi while watching Itte Q."

 

I hope that helps clear up any confusion you might have had.

 

Mahalo!

~ Scott

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