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Is it acceptable to use the term "in forever" when referring to a length of time, even though it is illogical? For example, "Ohmigosh, I haven't seen you in forever!"

Or is this term one that we should strike from the annals of history?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

"in forever" was probably derived from "in ages" as in:

Ohmigosh, I haven't seen you in ages!"

The "forever" was used because of its affinity with "ages". But its not a correct usage. Just Informal.

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It's clearly an irregular usage, in that it doesn't accord with the normal rules. It is however a common usage - you wouldn't use it in a setting where the most correct language was expected (say, a formal presentation), but even in an office environment it would be fine for conversation.

Sadly, I have no particular knowledge of the origin, except to say that the construction "in " is regular, and this is a small extension of it.

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I suspect that the term 'in forever' came about as a modification of the term, 'in ages'. Quite simply, 'forever' is another way of saying 'a very long time'. It is a casual saying, however, and one would certainly not use it in a formal context.

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