Wednesday, October 06, 2004

While vs. wile

Most people know the noun, preposition and adjective forms of while just fine. It's when we get to the verb that trouble crops up.

That's what we get in the phrase to while away the time. Because we don't often use while as a verb, we assume it must be a different while, like, maybe, wile.

But the verb while means "to cause to pass especially without boredom or in a pleasant manner."

We most often use wile as a noun meaning trickery, feminine wiles. Wile also has a verb form, which I have never read outside the dictionary. It means "to lure by or as if by a magic spell."

So, while away the evening by practicing your grammatical wiles.


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