Sometimes, it's difficult to decide the preposition which fits in, without going with the instincts or "oh yeah, this sounds right"

In the sentence: I've been busy for the past few days, can 'in' substitute 'for'? Which one is correct and why?

1 Answer 1


Both "for" and "in" occur with "the past few days".

"for the past few days" suggests something that has continued over that time.

"in the past few days" suggests something or some things that have happened several times in that time period.

Google ngram viewer shows that both expressions are pretty common:
ngram viewer "in/for the last few days"

If you go to that link, you will see a graph of both expressions over time, and at the bottom of the page, there are links to examples of each at Google books.

  • This is awesome! Thanks a lot :)
    – RS2000
    Aug 14, 2020 at 13:27
  • Just one more question, if i have to check a sentence which has more than 5 words, is there anything like the link u provided?
    – RS2000
    Aug 14, 2020 at 13:31
  • I don't know of one that can compare longer groups of words for frequency. The longer a sentence or phrase is, the fewer exact matches there will be in corpora. Aug 14, 2020 at 13:40
  • Yes, actually. That's when this community helps. Really appreciate ur inputs
    – RS2000
    Aug 15, 2020 at 15:04

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