if I lost something on Monday and since then I have been looking for it.

Would it be correct to say if today's Thursday sentence:

Which one?

A. I have been looking for it for three days. B. I have been looking for it for 4 days (counting as well today, because i was looking for it even today though i still havent found it or i found it but it does not matter does it?)

Please, exaplain thanks!

  • This is a applied math question, not about learning English (Monday and Thursday have clear meanings). And even at that cannot be answered without the time on each day. – user3169 Feb 17 '17 at 2:09

It's surprising to me how often this variety of question is asked, and it makes me curious if other languages have hard-and-fast rules for this kind of counting, because frankly in English there does not seem to be.

People will use any time-counting-phrase, e.g. "the last hour", "three days", imprecisely unless it is extremely important that the exact timeframe is specified.

I have been looking for it for three days

is fine

as is

I have been looking for it for 4 days

Depending on whether or not you count part of a day as an additional day. Different people have different opinions on this. If you want to avoid the debate altogether, you might try

I have been looking for it since Monday.

  • 3
    I'll add 99% of the time no one cares! You've been looking for days. I am interested because maybe you now need new glasses -- and I know you've really looked. The only time it matters in in a police report or for a specific legal reason -- a work report -- banking -- that sort of legal stuff. – WRX Feb 16 '17 at 16:15
  • 1
    I'm tempted to start flagging them as duplicates, but I fear it will prompt arguments that their phrase is not the same as the phrase in an answered question, while not getting that the root answer "no one cares" is the same. – mstorkson Feb 16 '17 at 16:19
  • 1
    I'd love to know what the OP's language does with this question. It seems like it must be different for there to be so many questions about it. Too bad we can't have a bank of answers about it -- oh right -- we do. :wink: – WRX Feb 16 '17 at 16:24
  • I was wondering exactly the same thing. We seem to get a lot of learners who are fascinated by the degree of precision in these sentences, and the best answer we can give is "It's just not that precise." So I wonder too, in Russian or Tamil or Korean or whatever, does it really imply that kind of precision? – stangdon Feb 16 '17 at 17:15
  • In my experience, it really depends on your audience and/or your goals. If you expect your statement could come under fire, or if you are trying to prove rather than merely describe, then you want to make sure your statement is "true" when put under a microscope. – Stew C Feb 23 '17 at 20:44

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