a. He won't be back for six months.

b. He won't be back in six months.

Are both sentences grammatically correct?

Is there any difference in their meanings?

Does (a) imply that he will back shortly after six months have passed?


Both are correct, and they have different meanings.

"He won't be back for six months" means that he won't be back during the next six months.

If he will be back at the end of the six months, you could say "he will be back in six months"; this does not contradict the earlier statement.

"He won't be back in six months" means that he won't be back until more than six months have elapsed.

  • 1
    Thank you very much. Which of the two could be followed by: "Maybe he will never come back at all."? – azz Jul 22 at 11:02
  • 2
    @azz They both can ... – Imus Jul 22 at 13:55
  • 2
    @Imus I would say that "He won't be back for six months" implies that the subject is somewhat expected to come back after that. If "at least" were added, i.e. "He won't be back for at least six months," then it would better convey that the subject's eventual return is in doubt. – Max Lennon Jul 22 at 15:42

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