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Example sentence:

He apologized (for) a/the third time, and I held back my complains (for) a/the tenth.

What's the correct construction? And why?

1 Answer 1

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There are two possible meanings that you might want to convey.

He apologized the third time

The counting in this sentence is related to something other than the apologies, for example if he had done something wrong three times: the first and second times he did something wrong, he didn't apologize, but the third time he did apologize.

He apologized for the third time
He apologized for a third time
He apologized a third time

The counting in these sentences relates to the apologies themselves: this is the third time that he has apologized.

This NGram shows that for the third time is significantly more widely used than for a third time.

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