for 3 whole days VS for all 3 days

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Junwei Guo

Senior Member
Chinese
Here's a sentence from my textbook:
1. "I was sad for 3 whole days"
Can I say:
2. "I was sad for all 3 days"
3. "I was sad for all the 3 days"
*the 3 days refers to, for example, my vacation.
Thanks=)
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    You can only use "all three days" if it is already clear what three days you are referring to. In the original sentence, it is obvious it refers to the three days after whatever it was that happened, but this does not apply when you change the wording to "all three days".

    There isn't really a rule for "all" and "the", but if the sentence does not need "the" when "all" is removed ("for three days"), then it is not likely to be added when adding "all". Sentence (3) therefore does not sound natural, but it is not wrong grammatically.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - US
    1. "I was sad for 3 whole days"
    "For 3 whole days" does not mean "during 3 individual days". That would be "I was sad all 3 days."

    "For 3 whole days" means "for a period of time that was 3x24 hours long". That is 72 hours.

    The "whole" emphasizes that it was not less than 72 hours.
     

    Junwei Guo

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    You can only use "all three days" if it is already clear what three days you are referring to. In the original sentence, it is obvious it refers to the three days after whatever it was that happened, but this does not apply when you change the wording to "all three days".

    There isn't really a rule for "all" and "the", but if the sentence does not need "the" when "all" is removed ("for three days"), then it is not likely to be added when adding "all". Sentence (3) therefore does not sound natural, but it is not wrong grammatically.
    Here's a sentence I just made:
    "After I failed my driving test, I was sad for 3 whole days."
    Do you mean "for all 3 days" doesn't fit in the context?
    Thanks=)
    "For 3 whole days" does not mean "during 3 individual days". That would be "I was sad all 3 days."

    "For 3 whole days" means "for a period of time that was 3x24 hours long". That is 72 hours.

    The "whole" emphasizes that it was not less than 72 hours.
    Thanks=)
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Here's a sentence I just made:
    "After I failed my driving test, I was sad for 3 whole days."
    Do you mean "for all 3 days" doesn't fit in the context?
    Correct. Not unless you said which three days you were talking about:
    I failed my driving test on Monday, so I decided to take Friday off work and have a long weekend in Barcelona to cheer me up, but I was sad for all three days I was away.​
    In this case, the days you were sad would have been Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    for three full/whole/entire days
    — Here the purpose of the adjective is to emphasise that such a length of time is unusual/remarkable

    When I had that procedure, I was only kept in hospital for a few hours. What about you?
    I was there for three whole days!

    for all three days
    — This bears no relation to the example above. It can only refer back to three days that have already been mentioned.

    The seminar lasted for three days, but I left after day 1. How about you?
    I stayed for all three days.​
     

    Junwei Guo

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    There is definitely a context: it's illustrating the use of 'the whole'.

    You have misquoted the sentence in the textbook. You can change 'Tina' to 'I', but you shouldn't have changed 'three' to '3' or omitted the final full stop/period.
    Okay, Thanks for your reminder=)
    Correct. Not unless you said which three days you were talking about:
    I failed my driving test on Monday, so I decided to take Friday off work and have a long weekend in Barcelona to cheer me up, but I was sad for all three days I was away.​
    In this case, the days you were sad would have been Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
    Thanks=)
    for three full/whole/entire days
    — Here the purpose of the adjective is to emphasise that such a length of time is unusual/remarkable

    When I had that procedure, I was only kept in hospital for a few hours. What about you?
    I was there for three whole days!

    for all three days
    — This bears no relation to the example above. It can only refer back to three days that have already been mentioned.

    The seminar lasted for three days, but I left after day 1. How about you?
    I stayed for all three days.​
    Thanks~ That's helped me a lot!
     
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