phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

A while; awhile

Posted by ESC on June 13, 2004

In Reply to: By the left posted by Henry on June 13, 2004

: : : : I am unable to figure what is best for the items below, your help is welcome:

: : : : "once in a while" or "once in awhile"
: : : : If both are OK, is there any difference in the meaning?

: : : : And giving directions, I am lost between:
: : : : "...take Maple Street on your left"
: : : : "...take Maple Street to your left"
: : : : or
: : : : "...make a left on Maple Street"
: : : : "...make a left to Maple Street"

: : : : Thank you very much, have a good day/week-end.

: : : Once in a while. (If "while" can be parsed as a noun, then do so.) Maple Street, on your left (assuming starting location is correctly noted). Maple Street, to your left (assuming etc.) Make a left [turn] on[to] Maple Street. All above are correct. Incorrect: "Left to Maple Street." This is correct only if there is some intervening information not stated here. (E.g., left on Bumpy Road to Maple Street, then hang a right.) SS

: : Smokey/Michel, some of this also depends on where you come from. While Smokey's reply appears to be absolutely technically correct to me, there's also a 'local speak' angle here. eg. all of these sound American to me. We (as in the older we), probably wouldn't say any of these things.

: : Here (in Aus) we'd say, "turn left at Maple Street". I don't think we 'take' and 'make' as much in these situations as Americans do - he he. We might also say, "take the Maple street turnoff on the left", which is about the closest we'd get to these examples. Although with TV having so much influence, our kids are probably speaking this way.

: "...take Maple Street on your left"
: "...take Maple Street to your left"
: "...make a left to Maple Street"
: I would interpret these three as instructions to turn left into Maple Street.
: "...make a left on Maple Street"
: I would interpret this as an instruction to turn left from Maple Street into another street.

"Hang a left at Maple." How about that?

Grammar makes my head hurt. From Merriam-Webster online:

Main Entry: awhile
Pronunciation: &-'hwI(&)l, &-'wI(&)l
Function: adverb
: for a while
usage Although considered a solecism (a blunder) by many commentators, awhile, like several other adverbs of time and place, is often used as the object of a preposition -- for awhile there is a silence -- Lord Dunsany.