For the time being & For a while


Portuguese and Spanish
Dear friends,

As hard as I try I can’t understand the difference between the use of "for the time being" and "for a while". Both expressions sound the same to me.
For instance if I say:
"I'm sharing an office for the time being"
heve the same meaning if I say : "I'm sharing an office for a while"?
"The lift is out of duty for a while" is the same of "the lift is out of duty for the time being"?
This is very confused to me. Could anyone help me to understand the correct use of them?
  • JBarDom

    Senior Member
    La diferencia básica es que for the time being, pronostica un tiempo determinado, mientras que for a while, no lo hace.



    Senior Member
    Spanish - Argentina
    I'd say that "for the time being" means "temporarily" and "for a while", "not for long". The difference may seem subtle, but they are used very differently.
    I'll stay here for the time being. (This implies that I'll go somewhere else some time in the future)
    I'll stay here for a while. (And then i'll go)

    Hope it helps.


    Senior Member
    Inglés - EEUU
    Both phrases can be used interchangably and different people will favor one or the other.

    While both indicate the expectation of an end, "for the time being" has a slightly stronger expectation. For a while has less of a short term expectation. Once again, this is a nuanced difference and most people use them interchangably.


    Senior Member
    American English
    Here is the difference. "For the time being" implies that a change is anticipated or possible in the future, and that the present state is only temporary. The future change may be for the better or the worse. "For a while" merely refers to a short length of time, and does not imply any change (although a change may occur, it is not implied).

    I'm keeping my car for the time being (because I'm afraid I might lose my job).
    I've had my car for a while. (This just refers to the length of time)

    "For the time being" is synonymous with "for now" and "for the present."


    Portuguese and Spanish
    Well my friends, thank you all for all those explanations.
    Regarding, "for the time being", I understood that it can be interpreted as "for a while" but would go further to say it would include "until otherwise directed" ( a superior, authority, or some other circumstance). For example, I'll stay under the shelter for the time being until the rain stops. Or, for the time being my son is madly in love with a chica....until another one comes along.
    Please correct me if I´m wrong.
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