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Searching on the Internet one can find a lot of occurrences of "all year round" and there are plenty of sites which explain what the expression means: throughout all the seasons of the year.

So, one would expect that "all [x] round", where [x] is day, or week, or even month, would be well established, too; but that is not the case, at least judging from Google results, which show the use of "all day/week/month round" mostly in some illiterate comments.

It's easy to deduce the meaning of "all week round" as "throughout all the days of the week". Can this expression be used like this? If not, why?

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For some reason, Carlo, the standard idioms have the day and month "long" (all day (month) long), the week "through" (all through the week), the year "round". The day can also be "around or 'round the clock". There's also "over the course of the day, (week, month, year)", and "throughout" the day/week/month/year. Hope this helps! –  Kristina Lopez Jul 22 '13 at 21:37
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Based on Kristina Lopez's observations, we can conclude that a year is a hollow hoop or torus, that all units of time smaller than a year but longer than a day are segments of that torus longer from end to end than in diameter, and that the day is a slice of the torus that's shorter from flat end to flat end than it is in diameter and has a high surface area-to-volume ratio.... This gives a whole new meaning to "seeing the year through." Or maybe it's just a series of arbitrary conventions. –  user867 Jul 23 '13 at 1:26

2 Answers 2

I think this is a problem, if you want to call it that, about collocations. Fixed expressions such as: "all night long", "at the weekends" ("on the weekends" if you are from the US), "year in, year out", (oops that an idiom!) and "by day/night" are instantly recognized and understood. For example, it is perfectly acceptable to say, "all year round" but I would never say, and I don't think I have ever read: "all month *round". Why can't I or you say it? Well, nothing is physically stopping us, but as an expression it sounds odd to the native ear.

What's even worse for language learners is that English does insist on evolving, despite our feeble protests and what was once considered inappropriate, grammatically incorrect and illiterate, is now accepted usage. So who knows if enough people start saying, "all month round", then maybe that expression will become fixed in time through repeated exposure.

The link I posted is actually quite neat, it lists all the collocations with "day" by courtesy of the Oxford collocation dictionary. A dictionary which I was totally unaware existed until tonight, 23/7/2013. So thank you, Carlo for your question, which made me do the research and discover this little gem. (See, yet another another collocation, we don't normally say: little jewel!)

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Could the problem with "all month round" or "all day round" be due to one named month or day following another, but the phrase implies that you are returning to your starting point? For instance, when January is complete, February is here. So All month round implies January, then January again. The phrase works with "year" and could work with "week" but I've never heard it used with week. –  Leatherwing Jul 30 '13 at 21:14
    
Yes, @Leatherwing you're right. When writing my answer I should have used "week" as an example, my argument would have been stronger. However, my point about collocations still stands. Why do we prefer to say "little gem" and not "little jewel"? Because we have tagged a meaning to that expression which over the years has gained common acceptance until we reach a point where we no longer need to think of its meaning but we know it as a separate unit, or chunk if you prefer. –  Mari-Lou A Jul 31 '13 at 0:13

It's not clear to me what "all month round" or "all week round" would mean.

"All year round" effectively means "continuously". You start at January and then go right through until December, and then you repeat the cycle by continuing into the following January. It is a continuous cycle - or a continuous round.

So, by analogy, "all month round" would be a cycle repeating monthly: you start at the 1 January through to the end of January, and then continue into February, and so on, until you get to 31 Dec, when you continue to 1 January, ad infinitum. So in fact, that would be the same as "all year round".

The same argument would apply to "all week round".

So, if you are talking of something that happens continuously throughout the year, then why use the smaller calendar units, such as month or week?

On the other hand, if you are talking about only certain weeks, months or seasons, you would say (for example) "throughout the month", or "throughout the summer season". This is not round because it does not encompass a full circle/cycle and go back to the beginning of the same week/month/season. So words such as "through", "throughout", "long", etc. are more appropriate for that situation.

The Free Dictionary has the following definition:

all year round
Fig. throughout all the seasons of the year; during the entire year.
The public swimming pool is enclosed so that it can be used all year round.
In the South they can grow flowers all year round.

Although not expressly stated, the clear implication is that this is referring not to a single year, but to things that continue all year round - every year.

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@Mari-LouA See my added definition. I wouldn't care to venture which came first - the "accustomed usage" or the "round" to mean a cycle. But it does imply a repeating cycle, in a way that it could not with month or week. And we can and do say "all week/month long", usually referring to specific week(s)/month(s). –  TrevorD Jul 23 '13 at 0:44
    
I deleted my comment because I realized my mistake. –  Mari-Lou A Jul 23 '13 at 0:45
    
However, let me see if I can defend my posted answer. "In the South they can grow flowers all year round", means throughout the year, and every month of the year flowers and plants can be cultivated. Likewise why is it not possible to say: All March round I planted bulbs, dug up the soil, planted my vegetable seedlings etc. The cycle is one that lasts 31 days. I repeat that cycle every March of every year. (I'm not a gardener so please don't tell me that nobody plants in March, it's just an example!) –  Mari-Lou A Jul 23 '13 at 0:50
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I’ve never heard all year round; it’s always just year round for me. –  tchrist Jul 23 '13 at 1:38
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I'm inclined to agree that “month round” is problematic for the reasons you offer, but I don't see how the same argument applies to weeks at all, because weeks are cyclical. –  Bradd Szonye Jul 23 '13 at 5:36

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