When someone says “a while,” how long do they mean? Is there a set timeframe for “a while”? I just find it so vague.
How Long Is “A While”?
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It’s hard to say. There’s no set timeframe equivalent to “a while,” which is kinda its point because people use “a while” as a stall tactic when they can’t give you an exact timeframe.
I agree with the previous comment that it’s used as a stalling mechanism most of the time when the speaker is not sure of how long their “a while” is going to take and can’t give you even an estimate of a period of time.
This site, though, said that there’s a study that “discovered “a while” estimates a length of 4 months whereas “a little while” would be a little less at 3 months’ time. Going a little further, “a while back” would indicate the potential of occurring up to 8 months in the past.” Which is still quite vague, but there’s that.
I believe “a while” differs per speaker. Most of us don’t think 4 months when we say “a while” :/