While editing a part of The Curse of Judas, I stumbled across a dispute between the use of the phrase “a while” and the word “awhile”.
Here is the snippet from the story:
He stared into the fireplace next to the couch, and without looking at me, he answered. “A revenant’s blood has power. By ingesting it, you should have fallen under my control. I should have calculated the possibilities.”
“What possibilities? What are you talking about?” Revenant blood has power. What does that mean?
“Never mind,” Cassius said as he stood and ran his fingers through his hair. He looked frustrated, with furrowed brow and tight lips. My captor walked over to the wall and pulled a black rope that hung down from the ceiling. The rope looked similar to the one he had used in his room. Within a few minutes, two ashen men came into the parlor. “Take my new bride back to our room to rest. I need to go out for a while.”
A while is means “a period of time” and is used as a noun
awhile means “for a time” and is used as an adverb
Rule of thumb: If you can substitute “for a time” then use “a while”. If you can substitute an adverb (word ending in -ly) then use “awhile”
Happy writing my friends!