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I think it should be

"I laugh for 10 minutes"

and yet online I found versions with no for: "I laugh 10 minutes". Is that form grammatical?

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Without simply for, or have you found I laugh 10 minutes as your question title states? "I laughed 10 minutes" is grammatical; "I laugh 10 minutes" is not because of the tense of laugh on its own. –  cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Apr 20 '12 at 19:58
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It can be grammatical – it depends on the context. I laugh 10 minutes sounds awkward by itself, but consider: I laugh ten minutes each day. I laugh ten minutes every time I hear that joke. Whenever I listen to Steven Wright, I laugh ten minutes or more, but she never laughs more than ten seconds. What's her problem? All of those sound fine in context. –  J.R. Apr 20 '12 at 20:02
    
sorry for the confusion... The title question felt so strange that I automatically put it past in the body. It's an example for some grammar explanation I do and I want to have the least info possible in there, that's why I chose present. –  Emanuel Apr 20 '12 at 20:06
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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I laugh 10 minutes is grammatical, but is unlikely to be found in isolation. There would have to be some context such as I laugh 10 minutes every day whether I feel like it or not, because it keeps me sane.

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Barrie: Good to know you chuckle 10 minutes a day! We wouldn't want to lose you. –  J.R. Apr 20 '12 at 23:06
    
I accepted this answer as it provides context that de-oddyfies mmy version. That is helpful... credit goes also to J.R. though who gave a number of similar examples in a comment. And of course @Brett ... thanks for the quick response. Based on that I continued the article I was writing :) –  Emanuel Apr 21 '12 at 1:05
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Yes, it's grammatical. It's very common for a noun phrase like 10 minutes to be used as an adjunct (or "adverbial") as it is here. Consider the following examples:

  • He arrived the day before yesterday
  • I saw her three times.
  • He ran 10 miles.
  • She worked all night.
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I think you misunderstood the OP. The question is in the title; the sentence in the body is presumably well known to be correct by the OP. –  Mitch Apr 20 '12 at 19:47
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what does OP stand for :) –  Emanuel Apr 20 '12 at 20:07
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@Emanuel: I take OP to stand for original poster. –  Brett Reynolds Apr 20 '12 at 20:43
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@Mitch: Tense is irrelevant to the grammaticality of omitting a preposition. If "He ran 10 miles" is okay, then so is "He runs 10 miles", "He runs half an hour", "He waits a few minutes", etc. OP's version is just a little odd, without a decent supporting context. –  FumbleFingers Apr 21 '12 at 0:04
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@Mitch: So what rule does it violate? And who said it was a sentence and not just part of a sentence? –  Brett Reynolds Apr 21 '12 at 18:47
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"I laugh ten minutes." with a full stop at the end is not correct. Moreover, it is difficult to see what this sentence is supposed to mean, given the use of the present tense. It logically does not make sense.

"I laughed for ten minutes." is correct.

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