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I have been struggling whether or not using "for" in front of "many times". Some explanations on the internet say "for many times" is British English and "many times" is American English. Also, "for many times" is more formal than "many times". Are these explanations correct?

My son's English teacher at high school insisted no "for" in front of "many times" in any circumstances. Is she right?

Would you kindly help me on this matter?

Here is an example:

Mark has been to Hong Kong for many times, so he decides not to visit there on vacation this summer.

Also, if I use a number instead of "many" in this phrase, is that OK, too? Here is an example:

After Jessica failed for 10000 times, she created the talented robot.

compared with the following example:

After Jessica failed 10000 times, she created the talented robot.

What's the different between them?

Also, here are 2 more sentences that I read from the exam paper and an English magazine:

I have visited there for many times since 2001. (from the exam paper)

The baseball player has pitched for 42 games in a row. (from an English magazine)

Are they grammatically right or not? Hope you can guide me.

If "for many times" that kind of usage is acceptable, for the sake of my better understanding, please give me one or two examples about "for many times" or "for+(number)+(nouns)". Thank you so very much.

  • RE: My son's English teacher at high school insisted no "for" in front of "many times" in any circumstances. As a general rule, I don't like to say things like "under no circumstances," because, if one thinks about it hard enough, one can often conceive of a legitimate counterexample, even if it's somewhat contrived. In the two examples you've given, though, you're best off heeding the advice of the teacher. Both sentences read better without the "for", and sound off with the "for" added in. – J.R. Oct 16 '13 at 10:17
  • I think I can imagine failing for the fifth time, but still, failing five times, - the former about a particular attempt, the latter about multiple attempts. – SF. Oct 16 '13 at 13:17
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I don't believe that "for many times" is grammatical in any variety of English.

(Well, unless you contrive an example where "times" is the plural of "a given time of occurrence" and there's an elided "of the": "Class times are listed below. For many times, you can click the link for more information.")

You can use "for" with an ordinal: for the first time, for the 20th time, for the last time. Notice that it's always time, not times, in these examples. You can also use "for" with a duration: for 100 years, for the summer, for a long time.

"Many times" behaves the same way as "100 times" or "just a few times", and adding a "for" is not grammatical.

Mark has been to Hong Kong many times.
Mark has been in Hong Kong for two years now.

After Jessica failed 10000 times, she finally created a working robot.
After Jessica failed for the 10000th time, she tried a different approach.

  • 1
    So, the useage of "for many times" is wrong. Thank you very much for such detailed explanation. – Amanda Shen Oct 16 '13 at 15:58
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I think "many times" is the abbreviation of "for many times" . Prepostion "for" is used for counting the amount of distace,period or time.

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In the first example, the correct sentence should be:

Mark has been to Hong Kong many times.

The second example should be:

After Jessica had failed 10000 times, she created the talented robot.

The "fail" action happens before the "create" action. Therefore, we should use past perfect tense.

  • Appreciated. I saw the usage of "for xxx times" in some sentences. I don't know what the difference is between with or without "for". – Amanda Shen Oct 16 '13 at 7:49

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