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What is the difference between these two phrases?

good times ahead of us

good times ahead for us

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3 Answers 3

They're just differently created constructions, but in the end, they both mean the same. Consider the following:

There are good times ahead.

This is a perfectly grammatical, self-sufficient sentence. You can expand it by stating either:

A) Ahead of what those times are?

B) For whom those times are?

The result?

A) There are good times ahead of us.

B) There are good times ahead for us.

Since ahead of us is more commonly used, especially in other fields, it's more natural for use. You could hear it a lot during plane flights, for example:

Ladies and gentleman, there is a storm ahead of us.

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I agree that in the end they both mean much the same, but as literal interpretation would suggest, ahead for us implies more of a sense that those good times are specifically arranged for us. Whereas something ahead of us might just happen to be wherever it is. Since in this case it's in the future, we'll simply be carried towards it by the Arrow of Time. –  FumbleFingers Oct 27 '11 at 18:07

While I think both are grammatically equivalent phrases, I have never seen "ahead for us" in common use. You would say "ahead of us".

This is supported by Google ngram showing the relative usage of the two terms.

When the "for" version is used, it seems to be emphasizing that there's an emotional distance between the speaker and the people who have something ahead of them.

There are exciting times ahead for international businesses.

versus

There are exciting times ahead of us.

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I think there is a difference in meaning, or at least in emphasis. There are good times ahead of us doesn't specify who the times are good for. There are good times ahead for us does.

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