In the two seconds it took for(¿?) him to (+Inf)

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gvergara

Senior Member
Español
Hi

Why has the preposition for been used in this case to introduce the object? As far as I'm concerned, the "standard" structure is It takes somebody (without preposition) (time) to (+Inf) Can you always use it without altering the sense of the sentence?

In the second or two it took for Logan to reach the ground I had a sense of déjà vu, and I immediately knew its source.
From "Enduring Love" by Ian McEwan

Gonzalo
 
  • GamblingCamel

    Senior Member
    USA English
    In the second or two and for Logan descriptively extend the sense of time. It gives the observing narrator a chance to have a deja vu.

    For a more clipped sense of time, consider this:
    "It took Logan a nanosecond to reach the ground."
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I have a slightly different understanding of this.

    If I read "In the two seconds it took for Logan to reach the ground ..." I have the feeling that Logan is a passive participant in this process - perhaps he is falling.

    If I read "In the two seconds it took Logan to reach the ground ..." I feel that Logan is actively working towards reaching the ground - perhaps he is rapidly climbing down a cliff, tree, bridge, or whatever. Logan was in control of reaching the ground.
     

    GamblingCamel

    Senior Member
    USA English
    P., That's an interesting comment. I presumed he was falling. I never considered that he might be reaching the ground in another way.
    Maybe, I've read too much Newtonian physics.

    You're right that the for preceding the noun may cause a reader to attach Logan more to the one second or more than to reach the ground.

    In any event, we've provided the answer to Gonzalo that an author can idiomatically produce different effects by using the preposition for.
     
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