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When to use the former and when to use the latter? For example here:

You're only a slave (for) today. Don't worry.

Should there be an for? Why or why not?

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Depends on what you are trying to say. This question might be lacking a little context.

But generally one would use today when referring to the actual day in contrast to using for today when talking about something in connection with that day. See preposition for.

Examples:

  • "I will be working 8 hours today."
  • "8 hours should be enough for today."
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  • The sentence means: You are only going to be a slave for today, so don't worry. It'll pass soon.
    – alex
    Mar 14, 2018 at 13:08
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    Then 'for' would be the correct choice here.
    – Levyce
    Mar 14, 2018 at 13:10
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    Although I believe it wouldn't be gramatically wrong to only say "a slave today,", but using 'for' would be more precise.
    – Levyce
    Mar 14, 2018 at 13:12

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