Friday, November 13, 2009

A while vs. awhile, and other bumbling stumbles

When “awhile” is spelled as a single word, it is an adverb meaning “for a time” (“stay awhile”); but when “while” is the object of a prepositional phrase, like “Lend me your monkey wrench for a while” the “while” must be separated from the “a.” (But if the preposition “for” were lacking in this sentence, “awhile” could be used in this way: “Lend me your monkey wrench awhile.”)

I studied grammar for a while, but it didn't even stay in my head awhile. I understand no deeper than noun, verb, and "really, 'awhile' is an adverb?" It takes a lot of reading well edited text to actually recognize mistakes, elsewhere. Then the conundrum is "Something is wrong, why is it?" Unfortunately, I don't read much well written work anymore. [There's another one--anymore, or is it any more?] Finally, time, neither butcher, nor shifter, sees language change.

Is someplace a word? Somewhere? Someplace is informal for somewhere, but formally should be two words. Adverbs...

Two others are fond of being switched around:
Then and than.
Who and whom.

Then, there is: that and which, which, or is it that, follow after something...

I even see weigh and weight butchered. What do these two have to do with the subject I am on?
Regarding detours, here's one I've wanted to test Spellcheck on: He sighted the site for which he cited [author's] text. Now, mix 'em up.

Here's a killer. Lay, lie, laid, lying, lain. Who's lying? Who lied? And, what is it in sex, laying, or that chickens? Put those in a sentence. Just go to the Free Dictionary and type "laying".

Enough! My head is spinning.

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