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  1. #1
    moonlike's Avatar
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    Default Can we replace "for the previous few centuries" with the following time expressions?

    Hi
    I'm kind of mixed-up. Could you help me please? There's a section in the book which mentions different time expression used in different cases. With no context, it was just written "for the previous few centuries" and mentioned that the underlined part refers to a time before. However, it occurred to me that if it's possible to replace the underlined part with the following terms as well?


    • For the last/previous few centuries

    • Over the last/previous few centuries

    • During the last/previous few centuries

    • Throughout the last/previous few centuries


    Can we use them interchangeably?

    Thanks a lot.

  2. #2
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can we replace "for the previous few centuries" with the following time expressio

    Quote Originally Posted by moonlike View Post

    Can we use them interchangeably?

    Thanks a lot.
    'Last' and 'previous'? No.
    "Last century" was the twentieth century.
    "The previous century" depends on what is given as the base century. For example. "Shakespeare wrote Hamlet in 1603. Most of his plays were published in the previous century." That is, the 1500s.
    The same applies to "next" and "following".

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Can we replace "for the previous few centuries" with the following time expressio

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    'Last' and 'previous'? No.
    "Last century" was the twentieth century.
    "The previous century" depends on what is given as the base century. For example. "Shakespeare wrote Hamlet in 1603. Most of his plays were published in the previous century." That is, the 1500s.
    The same applies to "next" and "following".

    Thanks Raymott. I already know this one "The previous century" depends on what is given as the base century. For example. "Shakespeare wrote Hamlet in 1603. Most of his plays were published in the previous century." That is, the 1500s."
    However, I wonder if it's possible to say "I've been beat over the last few days/over the previous few days". So you mean here just "over the previous few days" is right?

    Thanks.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Can we replace "for the previous few centuries" with the following time expressio

    Quote Originally Posted by moonlike View Post
    Thanks Raymott. I already know this one "The previous century" depends on what is given as the base century. For example. "Shakespeare wrote Hamlet in 1603. Most of his plays were published in the previous century." That is, the 1500s."
    However, I wonder if it's possible to say "I've been beat over the last few days/over the previous few days". So you mean here just "over the previous few days" is right?

    Thanks.
    If you've been beat, then now is the base time (since you're using a present tense - present perfect).
    So, no, I mean the opposite - you only use "over the last few days".
    With "over the previous few days", you'd need "I was beat", and you'd need to add a base time.

    What do you mean by "I've been beat?"

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Can we replace "for the previous few centuries" with the following time expressio

    I think the use of "beat" here was supposed to mean "tired".

    I'm beat = I'm absolutely exhausted.
    I've been beat over the last few days = Over the last few days, I've been feeling absolutely exhausted.

    I don't use it myself but I've heard it quite a lot, usually in AmE. It always sounds a little odd to me when used in a past tense sentence because, of course, I'm used to "beat" being a verb and therefore it should be "beaten". But here it's an adjective so it doesn't change construction.

  6. #6
    moonlike's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can we replace "for the previous few centuries" with the following time expressio

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I think the use of "beat" here was supposed to mean "tired".

    I'm beat = I'm absolutely exhausted.
    I've been beat over the last few days = Over the last few days, I've been feeling absolutely exhausted.

    I don't use it myself but I've heard it quite a lot, usually in AmE. It always sounds a little odd to me when used in a past tense sentence because, of course, I'm used to "beat" being a verb and therefore it should be "beaten". But here it's an adjective so it doesn't change construction.
    Yeah. Thanks. I mean "exhausted". I've heard it in a serial. Could you kindly help me with my original question in the thread. I'm kind of confused. Why can we say "over the previous few centuries", but we can't say over the previous few days? And we should say "over the last few days"? Is there a rule here? Does it apply to over the previous few weeks/over the last few weeks? and hours and years as well?

    Thanks a lot.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Can we replace "for the previous few centuries" with the following time expressio

    Quote Originally Posted by moonlike View Post
    Yeah. Thanks. I mean "exhausted". I've heard it in a serial. Could you kindly help me with my original question in the thread. I'm kind of confused. Why can we say "over the previous few centuries", but we can't say over the previous few days? And we should say "over the last few days"? Is there a rule here? Does it apply to over the previous few weeks/over the last few weeks? and hours and years as well?

    Thanks a lot.
    Raymott has already answered this. We can use 'last few days/weeks/centuries/etc' only if they end in the present day/week/century/etc. We use 'previous few days/etc' when they end in a day/etc before the present one.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Can we replace "for the previous few centuries" with the following time expressio

    Quote Originally Posted by moonlike View Post
    Yeah. Thanks. I mean "exhausted". I've heard it in a serial. Could you kindly help me with my original question in the thread. I'm kind of confused. Why can we say "over the previous few centuries", but we can't say over the previous few days? And we should say "over the last few days"? Is there a rule here? Does it apply to over the previous few weeks/over the last few weeks? and hours and years as well?

    Thanks a lot.
    It depends on the context. I could say "Over the last few days" meaning the few days immediately before today. I could also say "I really felt ill last Thursday, I had been feeling a little unwell over the previous few days, but that was when it really hit me". Do you see the difference? In fact I wouldn't say either, I would use "for" rather than "over". Though "over" is possible.
    Last edited by bhaisahab; 10-Jun-2012 at 07:44. Reason: To make it clearer.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Can we replace "for the previous few centuries" with the following time expressio

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    It depends on the context. I could say "Over the last few days" meaning the few days immediately before today. I could also say "I really felt ill last Thursday, I had been feeling a little unwell over the previous few days, but that was when it really hit me". In fact I wouldn't say either, I would use "for" rather than "over". Though "over" is possible. Do you see the difference?
    Thanks bhai for the clear example you provided. Well "over" means throughout/during and for well. It's on the tip of my tongue! Actually to be honest, no not exactly. I would really appreciate it if you shed more light on that please.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Can we replace "for the previous few centuries" with the following time expressio

    Quote Originally Posted by moonlike View Post
    Thanks bhai for the clear example you provided. Well "over" means throughout/during and for well. It's on the tip of my tongue! Actually to be honest, no not exactly. I would really appreciate it if you shed more light on that please.
    "Over" and "for" is not the issue. Nor is days/weeks/centuries... The same rule applies.
    Now, in post #3, you said "
    I already know this one "The previous century" depends on what is given as the base century."
    But then you make the illogical leap to assuming
    "
    So you mean here just "
    over the previous few days"is right?"

    No, I meant "Only 'over the last few days' is right". Why should "the previous few days" not depend on the base day just the same as "the previous century"? (It does). "Previous" requires mention of a base time. For "last", the base time is now.
    There should be no more explaining necessary if you read the thread carefully again.

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