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Which one of the following phrases is not correct:

1a. All life
1b. All my life
1c. All of my life
1d. My whole life

2a. All time
2b. All the time
2c. All of the time
2d. The whole time

3a. All day
3b. All the day
3c. All of the day
3d. The whole day

4a. All morning
4b. All the morning
4c. All of the morning
4d. The whole morning

For me 1a, 2a, 3a, and 4a all are incorrect (or perhaps they are used only in informal English). Rest of the choices are the same, but 1b, 2b, 3b, and 4b are less grammatically correct. 'c' and 'd' are exactly the same and most natural ones.

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    All of the time and the whole time mean different things, BTW. all of the time = always and the whole time =for the entire duration. E.g. I go to bed before 11PM all of the time. Did you know it was Polonious behind the arras the whole time? I knew it was you the whole time, even though you were wearing a mask and speaking with an odd accent. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 14 '14 at 23:08
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TRomano makes a good point in his comment: Many of these could appear in different contexts. It's hard to say whether these are "correct" or "incorrect," because there are many different scenarios in which they may appear. That being said, I've tried to answer based on what I believe to be the implied context


In the given context, "all life" is incorrect. (1a)

Likewise, "all time" (2a) is incorrect, but you will see the phrase "all time" appear in instances like:

Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time.

Babe Ruth is considered to be one of the all time greats in the sport of baseball.

For the third round, "all day" (3a) is, in fact, correct. However, I would argue that both "all the day" and "all of the day" are incorrect. I have never heard either used in American English, and to a native speaker they would certainly be seen as incorrect.

I've been working all day!

For the fourth series, the same applies as the third. 4a is certainly correct, but 4b and 4c will never be heard (again, at least in American English).

She has been out shopping all morning!

  • Thanks @nmar, but do the 'all morning' and 'the whole morning' mean the same or like what 'TRomano' mentioned about the number 2, the differ too? Meanwhile please let me know if 'the whole day' and "All day" mean the same or not? (You did not mentioned about 'the whole day') – A-friend Oct 15 '14 at 14:44
  • Yep, "all morning" and "the whole morning" mean the same thing, in this case. Same goes for "all day" and "the whole day." You will probably hear "all morning"/"all day" more frequently, and you might also hear "the entire day" or "the entire morning." – nmar Oct 15 '14 at 19:19

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