a while or awhile ?

                                     a while vs awhile
A while and awhile flummox many of us: whether we are using it right or wrong, whether a while or awhile is used after preposition
Now we have a trick that will max your confidence.

a while
It is a noun phrase; it can also function as an adverb.
As we already know, while indicates time. Consequently, a while means an hour, a short time, a long time.


  1. They studied for a while.(for an hour )
  2. I will be back in a little while. (in a short time)

awhile (Adv.)
It is an adverb not a noun.
It means "for a short time"

  1. You can stay awhile.
  2. I can read awhile.


One should use a while not awhile after prepositions, because after prepositions a noun or pronoun is used as object. Here a while is a noun phrase. An adverb cannot be used after preposition; awhile is an adverb.
We can write "They studied for a while, but not They studied for awhile". Without preposition, one can write either of them: "They studied a while or They studied awhile."

Mind Trick
Adverb and Awhile both words have an A at the head. With the help of this "A", one can conclude that Awhile is an Adverb not noun. And an adverb can't be used after prepositions.
As we know that awhile means for a short time, its meaning shows that it has already a preposition, for, which is why we don't use preposition when we use awhile in a sentence.

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