1.I told you three times

2.I told you for three times

Which one is correct or more common? I saw many of them in some random articles, sometimes, it adds "for" before it, but sometimes it is just ommited.

  • 2
    The first one is correct and is more common. The second one looks outright incorrect to me, but wait for a native speaker's opinion. If you could expand your question with examples of usage 2, that would be nice. – CowperKettle Oct 2 '15 at 16:36
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    I might have been prepared to believe the for version was "dialectal" and/or "uneducated", but checking the whole of Google Books for for a hundred / thousand / million times I can't find any examples that aren't either irrelevant collocations or a handful of contexts obviously written by non-native speakers (particularly, scientific writers with Germanic names, which may be significant). To me as a native speaker, including for is almost credible, but it just doesn't quite sound right. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Oct 2 '15 at 16:51
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    Only 1. is correct. Without additional context/examples, I can't think of a reason you might think to add 'for' here. – MrTheWalrus Oct 2 '15 at 16:53
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    @CopperKettle: It may be that a nns is better equipped to provide the best answer here. I'm not sure there's a "grammatical rule" that really amounts to anything more than That's just not how we say it (arguments for why we say what we do are probably just "post hoc" justifications). But if someone who speaks a different language knows that they have a usage corresponding to for here, that might be enlightening. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Oct 2 '15 at 16:59
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    My wild guess is that the confusion is caused by "for the first/last/Nth time" (e.g. "I've told you for the last time"). – Damkerng T. Oct 2 '15 at 17:26

In the example sentence only "I told you three times" is correct, but if we changed the wording to "I told you for three minutes," that would be correct, too.

  • I did it three times.
  • I did it for three hours.

I think the only correct usage of 'for' is when stating a duration (seconds, minutes, hours, days, etc.)

  • I told you doesn't really work well with a duration though. I explained it for three hours, maybe. – ColleenV parted ways Mar 1 '16 at 19:30
  • for is also necessary with ordinal numbers - "for the first/second/.../last time". – JavaLatte Jun 30 '16 at 1:21
  • @JavaLatte, the ordinal numbers have nothing to do with "for", because you can't say "for first" or "for second". – dockeryZ Jul 30 '16 at 1:21

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