In the last 20 years

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Anita hk

Senior Member
Hong Kong Chinese
In my book, it says 'in the plural, all time words normally take B+acc'. But in a text appears ''за последние 20 лет''. Can I say also 'B последние 20 лет'? If both за and B can be used, is there any difference in meaning? Thanks in advance.
 
  • Vovan

    Senior Member
    Russian
    "За" in this meaning is close to the English "over":
    over
    at one point or at various different points during a period of time
    I’m going to redecorate my bedroom over the holidays.
    She’s been a great help to me over the past year.
    during | meaning of during in Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English | LDOCE
    Some examples:
    В последние годы я там жил. (presumably all the time)
    За последние годы я там не один раз жил. (a few times)
    Here's the article from Малый академический словарь with the meaning in question - just in case:
    6.
    Употребляется при указании на промежуток времени, в течение которого что-л. совершается, происходит.
    Весенняя грязь за ночь покрылась тонким слоем льда.
    За две недели в Гремячем Логу произошло много перемен.
    https://classes.ru/all-russian/dictionary-russian-academ-term-18676.htm
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    In my book, it says 'in the plural, all time words normally take B+acc'. But in a text appears ''за последние 20 лет''. Can I say also 'B последние 20 лет'?
    Basically you can.
    However, note that the choice actually depends on how these time intervals are related to the verb.
    "В" + acc.pl. is more used with imperfective verbs, "за" + acc.pl. with perfective ones.
    Note that "за" is practically impossible with a continuous activity; it presupposes either series of events/processes (homogeneous or not), or some event resulting from a background activity which had been happening through the period (e.g. "за эти три года я понял главное: ..."); in the latter case, "в" + acc. is, in turn, normally impossible.
     
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