Mr. Jones, of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night.

What does "for the night" mean? Can I say "at night" instead of "for the night"?

  • 3
    To lock the henhouses "for the night" means they are locked all night, and until Farmer Jones gets up in the morning and unlocks them they will remain locked (unless a fox has lock-picking tools and knows how to use them!). Aug 26, 2016 at 2:10
  • Why not use "at night" here? What's the difference?
    – cuixiaomei
    Aug 26, 2016 at 3:20
  • 3
    For the night is an idiomatic for a particular duration - night time. It doesn't have to be night time when he locked it, but the presumption is that night would be approaching. It really just means he doesn't expect to be going back until the morning. When a shop closes, the last one out locks it up for the night.
    – Phil Sweet
    Aug 26, 2016 at 4:00
  • 3
    '[condition] for the [time period]' is a construction telling you the duration for which a condition applies rather than the time when it occurred. eg 'The office is closed for the week', 'I'll be out for the afternoon'.
    – Spagirl
    Aug 26, 2016 at 7:36

1 Answer 1


Mr. Jones, of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night.

This simply means that Mr. Jones, who I assume to be a farmer, had locked the hen-house and has no intention of opening it until the next day (Tomorrow).

Similarly, if I say:

He's not home. He's gone for the day.

means that the subject, 'He', has gone away for the entire day and will not be back until the next day.

You should not confuse "for the night" with "for a night".

In other words, "for the night" can roughly be translated to 'for this night'.

  • The question asks about at night. Aug 26, 2016 at 14:18

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