could not sleep the whole nights

erroranalysis

Senior Member
German
I'm a teacher and my students were to write a letter of complaint about the bad rooms and service of a hotel.
One of them wrote:

I had no air-conditioning and so I could not sleep the whole nights.

Is the highlighted part OK? I find it strange that night is used in the plural, and there are only few Google hits for the whole nights. Maybe it would be better to say:

...so I could not sleep one single night.

 
  • e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Your suggestion is much better.

    It's not clear to me what is meant by the whole nights. It doesn't seem to be intended to mean at any time during the night, since why would it be possible to sleep during the day?
    Perhaps it means a whole night through, which is at least acceptable.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I could not sleep right through the night - suggests he woke once or twice. Beware because I could not sleep, right through the night might mean he didn't sleep at all.

    I could not sleep through the night
    - suggests he woke once, maybe twice, perhaps.

    I could not sleep the whole night
    (or the whole night long) - suggests he didn't sleep at all.
     
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