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Can I use whichever proposition I want in this sentence? Or is there one that is better suited to use than the others and if so, why?

A. I have waited for two hours past my appointment time.

B. I have waited for two hours from my appointment time.

C. I have waited for two hours since my appointment time.

D. I have waited for two hours after my appointment time.

  • You can use anything you want depending on what you mean. They all carry different connotations. – Robusto Jul 28 '17 at 0:04
  • I am surprised to learn that those prepositions in this sentence could imply different meanings. I thought surely they all mean the same thing. Could you please tell me what each implies? – Ghaith Alrestom Jul 28 '17 at 0:06
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    Not as strong as "meanings" ... they all mean roughly the same thing, but you'd use them to express varying states of annoyance. For example, D is stronger than B, and would be used to express a certain outrage. A is also stronger than B, but not as strong as D. C is milder still, and a little strange-sounding. And while it is possible to use B to protest, it's use would be odd with the setup provided. – Robusto Jul 28 '17 at 0:10
  • Ah! Thanks. So those prepositions are interchangeable and the choice to use one of them is primarily based on how annoyed you are. – Ghaith Alrestom Jul 28 '17 at 0:16
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None of these is really how I would use those prepositions. Others might think they're fine. Here are what I think are more natural versions:

  1. It's now two hours past my appointment time that I've been waiting.

  2. I had to wait for two hours for my appointment, from 2 until 4 pm.

  3. It's been two hours since my appointment time, and I've been waiting all that time.

  4. It's now two hours after my appointment time, and I've been waiting.

They all mean more or less the same thing, but the usage is different because they imply different relationships with the appointment time. Here's a different set of examples:

It is past sundown.

It is after sundown.

It's been a while since the sun went down.

It's now three hours from the time the sun went down.

I guess the short answer is that you should not think of these as interchangeable but instead learn the patterns where each applies.

  • Both A. and C. seem idiomatic to me; without context, it's impossible to say they aren't. – P. E. Dant Jul 28 '17 at 1:26

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