A while is a noun phrase.
An adverb modifies a verb. For example: I sat awhile. ... Meaning I sat a short time. Since "awhile" is modifying the verb, you could exchange it with another adverb. Like: I sat quietly.
|My awesome daughter. :)|
The noun phrase "a while" refers to a period of time. For example: We walked for a while. You could replace the noun phrase with another one. Like: We walked for a month.
|Still my awesome daughter. :)|
I still think it's confusing, and it will be for a while. But contemplate awhile, and maybe it will make more sense.
Now I'm off to search out these words in my manuscript and make sure I used them correctly.
How about you? Do you struggle with the difference between "awhile" and "a while" ... or is it a piece of cake for you? ;)