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I am wondering what is the difference between the following two sentences:

  1. The aforementioned signs point to a water shortage in the near future.
  2. The aforementioned signs point to a water shortage for the near future

I guess the correctness or wrongness of prepositional phrase mainly depends on what it modifies. In fact, I think both of "Shortage for the future" and "Shortage in the future" are idiomatic phrases. However, I am not sure about it. Hence, my question. Thank you!

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  • I think you are confusing it with for the foreseeable future (it's happening now and will continue). In the near future means that it isn't happening yet, but soon will. – Kate Bunting Jan 21 at 17:10
  • The "default" preposition here is in, which makes your second version at least slightly "marked". If I knew it had come from a competent native speaker, I would assume the second version was intended to convey in the near future for the short-term (i.e. we shouldn't assume the impending water shortage will last indefinitely, which would otherwise be the default implication). But if it came from a non-native speaker I'd just assume they didn't make "the best" choice of preposition for the context. – FumbleFingers Jan 21 at 17:11
  • ...the reason for that distinction is if something's in store for someone / something, it's usually specifically for that person or thing (not necessarily for other people / things). So something identified as being for the near future carries at least some implication of not for the far future. – FumbleFingers Jan 21 at 17:16

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