Q: Should we wait “awhile” or “a while” between servings?
A: Both of the following sentences are correct: (1) “You should wait awhile between servings.” (2) “You should wait for a while between servings.”
“Awhile” is an adverb meaning for a time. (The “for” is inherent in the word, so “for awhile” would be redundant.) But “a while” is a noun phrase meaning a period of time.
So you could correctly say, “We sat awhile, drank coffee for a while, and laughed once in a while.”
More than a little confusing, aren’t they? The general rule is that you use two words (“a while”) after a preposition and one word (“awhile”) after a verb.
If you want to while away more time on this subject, check out my Aug. 28, 2006, blog item.
I hope this helps, and don’t gulp your food!
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