Awhile vs While
Awhile and while are two words in English grammar that people often mistakenly understand as one and the same in meaning, but there is a definite difference between awhile and while. Both these words are used to refer to a period. Now, let us see how these two, awhile and while, differ from each other.
What does Awhile mean?
According to the Oxford dictionary, awhile is defined as a short time. Awhile is also defined as an adverb and is usually used right after the verb. When someone says awhile, it should mean a certain length of time. Take these examples:
Ex – “Can you hold on for a moment? I’ll be done in awhile.”
This implies that the speaker is aware that whatever task he is engaged in will take only a short amount of time. Therefore, he is asking the other person to wait for a short time.
What does While mean?
While is a word that is used as a noun, conjunction, adverb, verb and a preposition. When while is used as a noun, it stands for a period, however, the length of time is not finite. Because of this, it is advisable to use adjectives before this word.
Ex – We might not see each other for a while.
This sentence does not have a clear meaning as to when you see each other again, unless it is mentioned whether it is a long or a short while. While is a word that is also used for comparisons. In other words, while is used as a conjunction that indicates contrast. Look at the following example.
Ex – Dogs are loyal creatures while the loyalty of cats is often questionable.
In the above example, while is used to bring the two sentences ‘Dogs are loyal creatures’ and ‘The loyalty of cats is often questionable’ together as a conjunction. If you look closely, you will be able to see that while not only brings the two sentences together as a conjunction but also brings out the contrasting nature of the loyalty of cats and dogs.
What is the difference between Awhile and While?
Both, awhile and while, are words that refer to a certain span of time. Therefore, although they can be used almost interchangeably, the definitions of while and awhile differ according to the context. Awhile means a short period and while refers to an indefinite span of time, often a longer period. While can also be used to highlight the contrast between two aspects. Awhile cannot be employed in such a manner.
Awhile vs While
• Awhile is used when you refer to a short span of time; while does not necessarily mean a specific length of time.
• When using awhile, one is giving the impression that it is going to be brief, but when while is used, it does not give a definite time frame.
• Adjectives such as short can be added to while such as a short while, to give an impression of time. This is not needed when using awhile.
• At the same time awhile is only used as an adverb; while is used as a noun, conjunction, adverb, verb, preposition.
- Difference Between While and Whilst
- Difference Between During and While
- Difference Between When and While
- Difference Between Whereas and While