FOR or IN ages

Hela

Senior Member
Tunisia - French
Dear teachers,

Would you say "I haven't been to the cinema FOR / IN ages" or both? Is "IN ages" American English ? Are there other instances where we can use "IN ages"?

Thank you for your help.
Hela
 
  • Little_Me

    Senior Member
    Poland, Polish
    Hela said:
    Dear teachers,

    Would you say "I haven't been to the cinema FOR / IN ages" or both? Is "IN ages" American English ? Are there other instances where we can use "IN ages"?

    Thank you for your help.
    Hela
    Hello! I'm not native, but I guess in your example only "for" is right. I've never heard anyone saying that he hasn't been somewhere 'in ages'... "For ages" is used to stress how many time has passed, the period of time. But let's wait for others' replies:)
     

    Little_Me

    Senior Member
    Poland, Polish
    vanjoseph said:
    in ages sounds more correct.
    And that only reminds me that I'm not native, definitely...:D That wasn't my doubt and my question, but I learned something new anyway:) Thanks guys!
     

    mariposita

    Senior Member
    US, English
    I would say it this way:

    I haven't been to the cinema in ages.
    It's been ages since I've been to the cinema.

    This doesn't sound wrong to me, but I wouldn't say it:

    I haven't been to the cinema for ages.
     

    yuxtapuesta

    Member
    Canadian English
    In the sentence "I haven't been to the movies in/for ages" I would certainly say "in". For sounds weird there.

    There are cases where I'd use "for" but I'd say it's a matter of being a native speaker and knowing what feels more natural.
     

    Aupick

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    I prefer in ages in this case, possibly because the sentence is negative. It seems different from, say, "I've been waiting for you for ages" (where in is not an option).

    (I wonder if the Google difference is because the second (positive) kind of sentence is more common than the first (negative) kind of sentence. It would be nice to be able to do a search and see which is more common in negative sentences. C'mon Larry and Sergey -- you can't retire yet...)
     

    mariposita

    Senior Member
    US, English
    I think Aupick hit the nail on the head. That's exactly how I would use the two expressions.

    More google stats:

    "seen it in ages" 19,800
    "seen it for ages" 853
     

    Mr Bones

    Senior Member
    España - Español
    As a student, I've always been taught the use of for in this case, or at least this is what I think to vaguely remember now. So I can perfectly understand Little Me's slip-up and sympathizes with her. I would have said exactly the same if she hadn't forestalled me (thank you, Little).
    Therefore it's an interesting thread too and proves once again the major difficulty of learning a language as intricate and beautiful as yours. Mr Bones.
     

    Little_Me

    Senior Member
    Poland, Polish
    Mr Bones said:
    As a student, I've always been taught the use of for in this case, or at least this is what I think to vaguely remember now. So I can perfectly understand Little Me's slip-up and sympathizes with her. I would have said exactly the same if she hadn't forestalled me (thank you, Little).
    Oh, you're welcome!;)
    But I guess I should thank you, dear Mr Bones, I feel so much better now knowing that not only I was... let's say- misled, by what I was always taught:D ;)
    Kisses
     

    moodywop

    Banned
    Italian - Italy
    According to Fowler's "a temporal use of in (e.g. Although we haven't spoken in more than a year - New Yorker, 1989) has been partially taken into BrE alongside the traditional preposition for".

    I wonder whether for may sound better in BE with certain verbs. Could it be that with "state" verbs for is more usual (- This place is a mess. - No wonder! I haven't lived here for years) than with "action" verbs(I haven't spoken to him in/for years)?
     

    olga69

    Senior Member

    May be this will help:

    My grammar book recommends to use in ages only in negative sentences with the present Perfect Tense
    It recommends to use for ages on both negative and positive sentences with different verb tenses


    (All Clear #2 by Helen Kalkstein Fragiadakis)
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)

    May be this will help:

    My grammar book recommends to use in ages only in negative sentences with the present Perfect Tense
    It recommends to use for ages on both negative and positive sentences with different verb tenses


    (All Clear #2 by Helen Kalkstein Fragiadakis)
    That sounds correct to me as far as "in ages" goes, but:
    I haven't been to the cinema in ages.
    I haven't seen Fred in ages.

    Both of those sound old-fashioned to me, especially the second. Maybe "I haven't been [there] in ages" sounds more of a set phrase.

    Concerning "for ages", I can't think if a use for it in the present continuous. "I am waiting here for ages" sounds odd to me. It seems to be fine with the other tenses though.
     
    Last edited:

    Hela

    Senior Member
    Tunisia - French
    Concerning "for ages", I can't think if a use for it in the present continuous. "I am waiting here for ages" sounds odd to me. It seems to be fine with the other tenses though.
    We wouldn't use the present progressive but the present perfect progressive instead: "I have been waiting here for ages."
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top