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Does it sound natural to a native speaker to say "for the past days" without using the word "few"?:

For the past days [note here the omission of "few" in "past few days"], I have been unable to concentrate on anything.

Or should "for the past days" always be used as "past few days"? My worry is that I don't want to talk about the past "few" days (e.g. 3 days), but maybe the last 6-10 days or so. Yet autocorrect tools are telling me I should include "few" and the vast majority of instances I found used "for the past few days" (related: https://www.italki.com/en/post/question-361068 ).

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    You could side-step the problem by saying "I have been unable to concentrate on anything recently." Commented Feb 16 at 19:27
  • @WeatherVane good idea! But I'm also interested in the question. I'm not a native speaker and, to me, it makes sense to omit "few", but it might be the case that it's not idiomatic after all (the link I posted seems to go in this direction)
    – flen
    Commented Feb 16 at 19:33
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    It doesn't sound natural to say "for the past days", it seems as if a quantifier is missing. But "for the past week" would seem better. Commented Feb 16 at 19:34

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No, I can't think of any scenario where "for the past days" would be used by native speakers.

My worry is that I don't want to talk about the past "few" days (e.g. 3 days), but maybe the last 6-10 days or so.

You could say

  • for the past several days
  • in recent days
  • for the past week or two
  • recently
  • since the start of the month (or whatever time marker applies)

etc.

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