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which of these two sentences is correct?

  1. It has been snowing for a whole week already.
  2. It has been snowing for the whole week already.
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  • They're both valid, anmd in many contexts are interchangeable. Sometimes (for example, a future reference where no particular week is contextually identifiable, such as Before I die my ambition is to stay at the Hilton for a whole week") you'd probably be more likely to use the indefinite article. And vice-versa - "He arrived yesterday, and expects to stay for the whole week" Commented Dec 14, 2014 at 17:58
  • @FumbleFingers - I wonder should the week with the be ongoing (or due shorty to start), or is it okay to use the whole week for a week that lies in a more distant future (or past). Commented Dec 14, 2014 at 18:09
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    @CopperKettle: The issue of when weeks start and end is a minefield in itself! On reflection, I guess that for some speakers on some days of the week my second example above could imply he expects to stay for 6 or 8 days (perhaps even 5 or 9) rather than exactly 7. But if it had been a week that would almost always mean exactly 7 days (since there's no "competing" contextual week to be potentially referenced by the definite article). But that doesn't imply the can't be used for "non-current" weeks - just that one tends to use a more often in such contexts. Commented Dec 14, 2014 at 18:19
  • Would you say 'It has been raining for the whole hour'? If so, do you think context is required? Commented Dec 14, 2014 at 22:07
  • Possible duplicate of "a" vs "the" to introduce a company
    – ColleenV
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 19:05

1 Answer 1

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'The whole week' refers to a specific week e.g. I'm going to Jackson on the 7th for work, I'll be gone to whole week so don't wait for me'. Whereas 'a whole week' refers to any whole week e.g. 'Building a good barn usually takes them a whole week'.

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