Between the sentences:

  • You've only been a day there.
  • You've only been there for a day.

Which would the grammatically correct one, or both are correct?

Thank you

  • The second one sounds right to my ears.
    – Qian Chen
    Apr 10 '18 at 7:25
  • Neither is incorrect, but the second is better.
    – Kate Bunting
    Apr 10 '18 at 7:59
  • 1
    Thank you Elgs and Kate. 2nd also sounds better for me, but couldn't find anything wrong with the 1st one.
    – Jack
    Apr 10 '18 at 8:08
  • I'm going to say that these Google Ngrams support my judgement that 'You've only been a day there' is incorrect because it is unidiomatic. 'You've only been a day in Lisbon' etc may well be found in old-fashioned literature. / Preposition deletion is not incorrect per se; 'You've only been there a day' is at least as common as 'You've only been there for a day'.... Apr 10 '18 at 9:04
  • Here are included further Ngrams in support of this claim. (Click on 'search lots of books' to 'see' the missing Ngrams.) Apr 10 '18 at 9:08

The second one is right. Where are you? There. How long have you been-there? A day.

Conversely, "I spent five days there." The days are what was spent. There is where I spent-five-days.

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