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Normally, Jane does it, but she is away all weekend.

I have the mentioned sentence in my grammar book. I can't understand why there is no "all the weekend". Could you explain, please? Why "the" is absent, if we speak about a specific weekend?

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  • We say all day and all night, so why not all weekend? Aug 7 at 20:08

1 Answer 1

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Once "All the day" was a common construction. This was before the word "weekend" had become common. Similar constructions were used with other expressions of time.

  • Jane will be sewing all the day.
  • Martha law awake all the night.
  • Bob will be at the lake house all the summer.
  • George was at Oxford all the term.
  • Fred has been staying with us all this year.
  • Mozart's music remained popular all the century.

Such forms are still valid, but gradually, over the course of the 19th and early 20th centuries, it became more and more common to omit the word "the" in such constructions, to the point where the older style with the "the" present now sounds odd and unnatural to many English-speakers. I don't know of any rule that permits, much less requires, the omission of "the" in such forms. It is just a case where wide usage makes a form correct.

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  • Thanks for your good answer. I've found "all Monday, all October, all 2001, all 21st May" is also used, but usually in informal speech. Does it mean I can't say "all Monday" to some clients (at work), only "all day"? It seems odd.
    – Sergei
    Aug 8 at 6:13
  • @Sergei One may use any of these forms in a professional (work) context, or indeed in a formal context. "All day" is probably more common than "all Monday", but there is nothing wrong with using "all Monday". All should be clearly understood, and none of these dorms should sound odd or unnatural to a fluent speaker. In fact I have used :"all Wednesday" in a work context
    – David Siegel
    Aug 8 at 6:46

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