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We were very busy one week because an employee had rung in saying his grandmother had died.

In the sentence, the adverbial phrase "one week" has no preposition. Is this acceptable?

3 Answers 3

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Expressions of time are often (but not always) used quasi-adverbially, without a preposition. See, for example, this

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Yes. 'one week' implies that we were very busy during a period of one week, but not necessarily for the whole week. If we were to say 'for one week' that would imply that we were busy for the whole week.

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This type of construction can also be used to "set the stage" for a narrative - to give a time reference for a story. "I was busy counting widgets one day, when suddenly a bear ate my lunch." There is no implication that I was counted widgets all day long.

We were very busy one week because an employee had rung in saying his grandmother had died. With no-one to cover the front desk, the rest of us knew we were going to have to redouble our efforts. We were all working so hard that we didn't notice when a man entered the car lot on Wednesday and stole a brand new sedan. The boss was furious and we were all fired on Thursday.

We didn't work hard all week long - we started off working hard, and the one week set the reference frame for the story - it more or less covers the events of a week.

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