"It was the first time in years I'd been able to look at myself without being upset - I'd forgotten what it was like to have a full head of hair.
Do you use "for" in place of in?
It was the first time I'd been able to look at myself in years without being upset - I'd forgotten what it was like to have a full head of hair.
Is in years in an appropriate position?
English is flexible about such things, much more so than Chinese and Japanese. But I agree it would sound better (clearer) if "first time in years" was all together.
year - Definition from the CHRONOLOGY topic - TECHNOLOGY
It was the first time in years I'd seen her.
Would it be okay to say: It was the first time in years that I'd seen her?
Which sounds better?
I think both are possible because "for" refers to an amount of elapsed time or a period of time that has yet to elapse, and "in" is used to mark a time limitation of an action, event, or state. Both viewpoints of time work for this sentence: for -an amount of elapsed time or time that is to elapse: in - marks a time limitation - a kind of "finish line".
for years - a period of time that is a number of years
in years - a period of time that does not exceed "years", with "years" in this case being relative to a reasonable amount of time as perceived by the speaker. So, perhaps, this could mean three to five years? Try it with a definite number of years instead of an indefinite number of "years".
Let's see how "in" and "for" are definitely not interchangeable.
Can you have that report done in one week? - time limitation - not "for one week". -And we can see that "in" is a kind of "finish line".
I'll have it on your desk in three days. - time limitation - not "for three days" - And, once again, "in" can be seen as a kind of "finish line".
I'll be finished with this report in a week. - time limitation - not "for a week". - Not more than a week from today: today_______________________| - one week marks the finish line
I worked on this report for three hours this morning. - a period of time - not "in three hours".
So in these sentences both viewpoints of time are not interchangeable.
I think there's more logic to preposition use than we imagine sometimes. It requires a little thought, however.
Last edited by PROESL; 08-Sep-2009 at 03:42.