1.Babies need to sleep 18 hours.

2.Babies need to sleep for 18 hours.

Are these sentences different in meaning? As my teacher says, we use "for" to describe "continuous action without a pause".

  • The 2nd one sounds more nature to me.
    – Xin
    Commented May 16, 2017 at 0:14

2 Answers 2


To me, the first means that a baby needs to sleep 18 hours a day, which is proper. The second means that a baby sleeps 18 hours at one time. If "a day" is added, as was stated above, there is very little difference between the two.


In common usage, the two are interchangeable. Nobody is going to give you a sideways glance if you say one or the other of these. I'd add a small bit of clarity to the sentence and add "a day" onto the end but that's a small tweak. Most people will guess that because of context. Of course those of us who have cared for small children will tell you that there is nothing continuous about those 18 hours. There are plenty of pauses late at night when you are too exhausted to get up. :)

Still, either will do.

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