Here, the seventh point says I can use the preposition in in an negative sentence. Does it mean I don't have to use the preposition for and still it will be correct?

For example:

  1. I was there for three years.
  2. I was not there in three years.

Thanks for help.

2 Answers 2


Your sentence #2 is not grammatically correct. We would say "I have not been there in three years." (You will notice that both of the examples on the web page use the present perfect, not the simple past.)

for refers to the span of time at any point - that is, any three years. in refers to the most recent span of time, like the most recent span of time.

If you want to make a negative version of sentence #1, you would say "I was not there for three years." (That is, maybe you were there for one year, or for five years, but not three years.)

If you say "I have not been there in three years" it means "I have not been there during the most recent three years."


No you cannot use it like that and even as a native British English speaker, the second sentence is ambiguous and I would be confused as to what you meant.

Instead, you should say "I was not there for 3 years", meaning you were there at some point, but not for 3 whole years.

Also, you could say 'I was not there in those three years", that would be OK (although the meaning is slightly different).

Moreover, you could say "I haven't been there in three years" and that is fine (the meaning here though is completely different and is just to show an example of when it is OK to use in).

  • Does it mean I must/ can use it with present perfect only ? Apr 5, 2017 at 15:19
  • As a general rule, yes.
    – Dean2690
    Apr 5, 2017 at 15:21

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