Writing Tip #99

A while versus Awhile. Just as I was mulling over what tip to post today, a Facebook friend posted a comment that ended in the following phrase: for awhile. I nearly jumped up and down in excitement, for now I had my tip! The word awhile is an adverb and means “for a short time” (while, on the other hand, means a period of time, not necessarily short), but the rule is it is never preceded by a preposition. In other words, this is correct:

Come inside for a while.

And this is also correct:

Come inside awhile. (No preposition.)

But this is incorrect:

Come inside for awhile.

Why is this the rule? I have no idea. Just one of those batty things about the English language. :)

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