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1. Once in a while

OR

2. Once in awhile

Which is the correct phrase? I'm thinking it's the first one, but I'm unable to find out for certain.


"a while" vs "awhile" and Correct usage of "awhile" were related but didn't answer the question

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  • How do they not answer the question? 'Awhile' is an adverb so it can't be used in this sense.
    – user180089
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 2:31
  • I would certainly prefer to use "once in a while" -- it just looks better. Dunno what the Pists might say.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 2:34
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    @V0ight if that's ture, feel free to answer.
    – RedCaio
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 3:20
  • The answer is in the links you provided. Replace 'awhile' with any other adverb, like 'rarely' or 'seldom' and you'll see it makes no sense. 'Once in rarely'? 'Once in seldom'?
    – user180089
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 3:36
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    Not a duplicate. Yet another wrongly closed question. This one is about the specific phrase "once in a while". That one is about the adverb "awhile" and doesn't answer this question at all.
    – Bob Stein
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 12:39

1 Answer 1

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The correct phrase is "Once in a while", as two separate words.

As "awhile" is an adverb, it wouldn't make sense to say "Once in awhile". See @V0ight's comment:

Replace 'awhile' with any other adverb, like 'rarely' or 'seldom' and you'll see it makes no sense. 'Once in rarely'? 'Once in seldom'?

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    I came here because I thought this was the correct phrasing, even though the editor in Google Mail (or is it Chrome's fault?) tried to tell me otherwise. Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 15:35

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