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I am asking this question on behalf of a Japanese acquaintance.

In my opinion, "for the rest of your life" is a very common phrase, but "for the rest of your existence" is not nearly as common.

However, I took the time to Google "for the rest of your existence" and came up with the following results.

  1. "Live Out Of Shame For The Rest Of Your Existence" Bitcoin Sextortion Scam
  2. If you had to live by one Psych quote for the rest of your existence, what would it be?
  3. If you don’t vote for me for The Fame Games on July 14th you will have bad luck for the rest of your existence.
  4. The life you make for yourself is the life you live for the rest of your existence

I think that you could replace "existence" with "life" and it would not change the above sentences. However, I am not sure now. Does anyone know what the difference between "for the rest of your life" and "for the rest of your existence" is?

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  • 1
    It's the same thing since life and existence there would mean the same thing.
    – Lambie
    Oct 31, 2023 at 17:47
  • 1
    Using existence is just a fancy variant on the usual expression. Oct 31, 2023 at 17:50
  • Also, these strike me as not necessarily coming from native speakers. Oct 31, 2023 at 19:07

1 Answer 1

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The literal meaning of the words in that context is the same, so long as you consider death to cause the end of your existence. So in terms of the time span described, they are identical.

In terms of their usage, "the rest of your existence" always strongly emphasizes the length of time, especially to make it sound like a negative thing, which is not always true for "the rest of your life".

(A) She's going to have trouble walking for the rest of her life.
(B) She's going to have trouble walking for the rest of her existence.

With (A), the context, as well as the stress and intonation the speaker gives it will determine whether it's just a neutral statement, or emphasizing how horrible someone's life situation is and will be.

But with (B), it's clear without any context or prosody that the intent is to say what a horrible situation this is.

Your examples 1 and 3 clearly have negative meaning. Without any context, I'd guess that the context of 4 is a warning about making a good life for yourself or suffering the consequences. Your example 3 seems to incorrectly use "the rest of your existence" on purpose for humour.

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    +1 for acknowledging the assumption of no afterlife. Nov 1, 2023 at 23:57

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