'in the years' / 'for the years'

kazuhiko fudaba

Senior Member
Japanese
Question) What's the differnce between 'in the years' and 'for the years' in the following sentences?

1) Supermarkets have fought a price war in the years by selling products like beer below cost.
2) Supermarkets have fought a price war for the years by selling products like beer below cost.

Thank you
K.Fudaba
 
  • Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    Neither makes sense to me. Perhaps it's supposed to be "for years" which means "for many years".

    Could you please tell us your source?
     

    Franco-filly

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England
    Neither sentence works. You could say "in the years 2012-2016" for example - but I would prefer "during" there rather than "in". Or, you can simply "for years" i.e. for a long time / several years.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Neither is correct. 'For years' is possible: it means the price war has lasted a long time (several years, at least).

    multiple cross-posting
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Both are the same because both are wrong.
    Supermarkets have fought a price war over the years by selling products like beer below cost.
     

    Lun-14

    Banned
    Hindi
    Respected teachers,
    May I dare to ask you a question:
    "For the years" is incorrect as have been suggested, but why is "over the years" correct(#5)? ("The" is correct is correct in one case but not in the other:rolleyes:)

    If "for years" is correct, then "over years" (no "the") should also be correct.:cool::)

    Could you explain please?

    Thanks!
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    "For the years" is incorrect as have been suggested, but why is "over the years" correct(#5)? ("The" is correct is correct in one case but not in the other:rolleyes:)
    "For" and "over" are different words. One's correct and the other's not.:rolleyes:

    If "for years" is correct, then "over years" (no "the") should also be correct.
    By your logic, we could replace "for" with "to" or "under" or "on" and it'd be correct.

    As it happens, "over years" can be used in some contexts to mean "over a period of several years" but "for years" or "over the years" are more natural in this sentence.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    "The years" (noun phrase) = "a long time"; a long duration/passage of time; the years that have passed.

    "The years had not treated him kindly and now he was an invalid."

    Over has a meaning similar to "during the course of"; "for an indefinite amount of"
     

    Lun-14

    Banned
    Hindi
    "The years" (noun phrase) = "a long time"; a long duration/passage of time; the years that have passed.

    "The years had not treated him kindly and now he was an invalid."

    Over has a meaning similar to "during the course of"; "for an indefinite amount of"
    Thanks, but can you please explain how it is different from "over years" (it can be used in some contexts as per Barque)?

    And please would you also let me know why "for the years" isn't correct in the OP?
     

    RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    And please would you also let me know why "for the years" isn't correct in the OP?
    The short answer is that these are conventions that people learn as they grow up. However, to take a stab at an answer, "for" has a kind of dual purpose. It can mean "for the benefit of" or "for the purpose of". So you don't want to say "for the benefit of the years". It just happens that "for years" is similar to expressions like "forever", so I guess you leave out "the". There's no very good answer for these preposition questions. A lot of the answers are historical and the best thing is to try to get a feel for them. :)
     

    Lun-14

    Banned
    Hindi
    WRF asks for full sentences as examples: could you do that? :thumbsup:
    I would take the OP sentence as an example.

    Please see how I understand the difference:

    Supermarkets fought a price war over the years by selling products like beer below cost. -> The time period is known, i.e. 10 years (from 2000-2010)

    Supermarkets fought a price war over years by selling products like beer below cost. -> The time period is not known, i.e. several years. Or, the time period is not exactly known.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Supermarkets fought a price war over the years by selling products like beer below cost. -> The time period is known, i.e. 10 years (from 2000-2010)
    No.

    "[over] the years" should be seen as an idiom. I explained this above:
    "The years" (noun phrase) = "a long time"; a long duration/passage of time; the years that have passed.
    "The years" is a vague, but long, length of time.
    Supermarkets fought a price war over years by selling products like beer below cost.
    No. "over years" is not idiomatic - nobody would say that.
     
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