3

Ducking under Peeves, they ran for their lives, right to the end of the corridor where they slammed into a door - and it was locked. "This is it!" Ron moaned, as they pushed helplessly at the door, "We're done for! This is the end!" They could hear footsteps, Filch running as fast as he could toward Peeves's shouts. "Oh, move over," Hermione snarled. She grabbed Harry's wand, tapped the lock, and whispered, 'Alohomora!" The lock clicked and the door swung open -- they piled through it, shut it quickly, and pressed their ears against it, listening.
"Which way did they go, Peeves?" Filch was saying. "Quick, tell me."
"Say 'please."'
"Don't mess with me, Peeves, now where did they go?"
"Shan't say nothing if you don't say please," said Peeves in his annoying singsong voice.
"All right -please."
"NOTHING! Ha haaa! Told you I wouldn't say nothing if you didn't say please! Ha ha! Haaaaaa!" And they heard the sound of Peeves whooshing away and Filch cursing in rage. "He thinks this door is locked," Harry whispered. "I think we'll be okay -- get off, Neville!" For Neville had been tugging on the sleeve of Harry's bathrobe for the last minute. "What?"
(Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone)

It seems that for may mean #15 below since the sentence has perfect tense, but I also suspect #16 might be the meaning. What is the for for?

[Oxford]

15: used to show a length of time
I'm going away for a few days.That's all the news there is for now.
16: used to show that something is arranged or intended to happen at a particular time
an appointment for May 12
We're invited for 7.30.

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    #15, definitely. It has here roughly the same sense as during, 1 or throughout, 2 the specified period. Sense 16 would arise only within the context of setting a specific time or date at which something is to happen. – StoneyB Jun 6 '13 at 13:25
  • 1
    Is this a question? – Daniel Jun 6 '13 at 13:55
  • Just a suggestion: I think you could have just quoted the sentence containing the word in question. You didn't really need to give us the whole book! – Jay Jun 6 '13 at 18:01
  • @Jay: In this case (and indeed most questions from OP) I don't think the extra text confuses the issue. It's better to have surplus unnecessary context than insufficient, and understandably OP may not be able to reliably judge how much is "sufficient". If everyone posted as much detail (and did as much background research themselves) as Listenever, ELL would be all the better for it. – FumbleFingers Jun 6 '13 at 23:41
7

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: In such contexts, "for" is the standard preposition before a span of time. But it can often be omitted entirely - for example,

I was very tired because I had...
been working for several hours. (2460 results in Google Books)
been working several hours. (784 results)


There's no possibility of OP's citation being definition #16 (which is often conveyed using at or on). There's simply no credible interpretation for that sense.

In other contexts, for = for the sake of / in order to [acquire / etc.]. But here that would have to mean Neville had been tugging Harry's sleeve so he could have "the last few minutes". I can contrive contexts where that interpretation could apply (it's "the last minutes" of a band playing in a dance-hall, and Neville wants to spend them dancing with Harry, perhaps). But obviously that's not what's intended here.

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