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We'd been dating for more than a year until we broke up 3 weeks ago.

  1. In the first few days after we'd been done, I had a hard time figuring out what was wrong with us.

  2. For the first few days after we'd been done, I had a hard time figuring out what was wrong with us.

Here, I'm perfectly comfortable using "for" instead of "in". But I've seen a couple of times that some people use "in". Which one is right or better?

  • "In" is better. Because we use in for nonspecific times during a day, a month, a season, or a year. But for is used to measure time. He held his breath for seven minutes. – Ekn Aug 5 '15 at 6:41
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I disagree with Ekn.

"For the first few days" implies that something was going on continuously for days. While technically you probably thought about other things during those first few days, like eating and going to the bathroom, it is metaphorically valid, and certainly better in a literary since, to say that it was continuously ongoing. I would absolutely vote in favor of using "for" here.

However, "in" is not invalid. It says to me that at any time in those first few days that you attempted to figure it out, you couldn't, but not necessarily that you did so a lot for those first few days.

So both are valid, but in the context of a breakup I would use "for".

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In X, Y - if X is a time expression and Y is an expression with a future or conditional tense, can mean X time has passed and then Y will/would happen.

In six weeks you will receive your items.

This doesn't work with for.

In is also used if you are saying Y has happened once or specific times during the time frame expressed by X ...

In two months I applied for two jobs.

but if you are expressing a continuous or habitual action (i.e. using progressive tense), you should use for:

For two months I have been applying for jobs.

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