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English translation: for a million years // for millions of years

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23:30 Aug 3, 2006
English to English translations [PRO]
Linguistics
English term or phrase: million
during a million years / during millions of years / during million years

I know there's a slight difference in meaning, but are they all they all grammatically correct?
Lakasa Stnorden
Local time: 00:46
English translation:for a million years // for millions of years
Explanation:
In English, you would not say "during a million/millions of years".

The use of *during* in this way is a common error of native Spanish speakers. "For" would typically be used instead.

"During million years" would be impossible, even with *for*substituted.

Selected response from:

Robert Forstag
United States
Local time: 23:46
Grading comment
Many thanks to all of you. Interesting comments, Sergey. I will take everything into account.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +6for a million years // for millions of yearsRobert Forstag
3 +4the first two are correct, the third isn't
Caryl Swift
4 -1during and for / during and inxxxsergey


  

Answers


2 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +6
for a million years // for millions of years


Explanation:
In English, you would not say "during a million/millions of years".

The use of *during* in this way is a common error of native Spanish speakers. "For" would typically be used instead.

"During million years" would be impossible, even with *for*substituted.



Robert Forstag
United States
Local time: 23:46
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 60
Grading comment
Many thanks to all of you. Interesting comments, Sergey. I will take everything into account.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Mikhail Kropotov
1 min
  -> Thank you, Mikhail.

agree  Refugio: Agree, native speakers would not say 'during'.
1 hr
  -> Thank you, Ruth.

agree  xxxPRen
2 hrs
  -> Thank you, Paula.

agree  vanesa medina
2 hrs
  -> Thank you, Pao.

agree  Emily Goodpaster
5 hrs
  -> Thank you, Emily.

disagree  xxxsergey: yes, you WOULD say that in english PS and what makes you think that YOU know what YOU are talking about rather strongly and confidently too?
10 hrs
  -> You *could* say it this way in English, but it would represent substandard use. You really ought to know what you're talking about before venturing such a strong and confident opinion about the matter.

agree  Brie Vernier: I would prefer "over the course of"
13 hrs
  -> This would also work. Thank you, Brie.

agree  xxxAlfa Trans
3 days10 hrs
  -> Thank you, Marju.
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4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +4
the first two are correct, the third isn't


Explanation:
during a million years - during 1 million years

during millions of years - during more than one million

during million years - this one isn't possible grammatically


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Note added at 8 mins (2006-08-03 23:38:49 GMT)
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http://tinyurl.com/gfygd
http://tinyurl.com/fug8o

You could also say 'over a period of . . . ' - but even then, the third one isn't possible.

Caryl Swift
Poland
Local time: 05:46
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 16

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Robert Forstag: "During the course of" + [time] or "During the past/last" + [time] do indeed work. :)
1 min
  -> Hi,Robert!Well,I'd have thought that would depended upon the full sentence-how about this,for example?http://tinyurl.com/kxej8// Or'over a period of'as I added to my answer(I was writing it as you were writing your comment,I guess) :-)

agree  Tony M
7 mins
  -> Thank you, Tony! :-)

agree  Dave Calderhead
33 mins
  -> Thank you, Dave! :-)

agree  Jack Doughty
1 hr
  -> Thank you, Jack! :-)

disagree  Refugio: Just "during" may not be technically incorrect, but it is certainly not common usage.
1 hr
  -> Please see the URL I gave in response to Robert's comment.

neutral  xxxPRen: Have to agree with Robert - during a million years? In what context?
2 hrs
  -> Please see the URL I gave in response to Robert's comment

agree  xxxsergey: inside a particular period of time
9 hrs
  -> Thank you! :-)

agree  Fan Gao
12 hrs
  -> Thank you! :-)
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9 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): -1
during and for / during and in


Explanation:
DURING AND FOR:

'during' is used WHEN something happens; 'for' is used to say 'HOW LONG' it lasts. compare:

my father was in hospital DURING THE SUMMER.
my father was in hospital FOR SIX WEEKS.
it rained DURING THE NIGHT FOR TWO OR THREE HOURS.


DURING AND IN:

we use both 'during' and 'in' to say that something happens inside a particular period of time.

we'll be on holiday DURING/IN august.
i woke up DURING/IN the night

so, in this sense 'during a million years', 'during millions of years' are grammatically possible according to 'practical english usage' by michael swan, oxford uni press 2005

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Note added at 9 hrs (2006-08-04 09:28:08 GMT)
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'time' magazine:
One of the most interesting sites in the history of early man is the Makapan Valley in South Africa (TIME, Jan. 17). As the Makapan River cut its valley during a million years, it formed a series of...
www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,861616,00.html

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 10 hrs (2006-08-04 09:34:00 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

'universe today':

36. Universe Today » Archive » Star Forming Regions in Andromeda
Astronomers find enough cold gas for star formation during millions of years to come. But many questions are unanswered; for instance how this raw material ...
www.universetoday.com/2006/06/29/star-forming-regions-in-an...

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Note added at 13 hrs (2006-08-04 13:15:41 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Science | ARCHIVE
Dragon Lizards
Feb. 13, 1928 
...glare at the strange thing in the air. They showed no fear: during a million years all beasts on Komodo had fled from their voracity....
282 words | view cover
http://www.time.com/time/searchresults?N=55&Ntk=NoBody&Nty=1...

xxxsergey
Local time: 04:46
Works in field
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Robert Forstag: Just ask ten English speakers with a college education whether *during a million years* sounds right and you will know right away that it simply does not work.
3 hrs
  -> why don't you read those articles from 'time' and 'universe today' magazines written by people with higher education instead. and learn how to speak proper educated english?
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