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I've always wondered about this.

When describing an exaggerated amount of time should one say "for forever" or "forever"?

As in:

I have been waiting for forever.


I have been waiting forever.

The argument being that the word "forever" is in itself a period of time, or it isn't.

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Doesn't your first sentence sound a bit, weird? – Gigili Jun 20 '12 at 20:17
Actually, I prefer I have been waiting for ever. – TimLymington Aug 14 '12 at 21:51
up vote 6 down vote accepted

"Forever" in this context is an adverb. You could also say that it's basically "for ever" without the space. As such, if you're saying that you have been waiting for a very long time, then the latter usage is right.

In the former usage, "forever" is used as a noun. It does not describe how long you have been waiting; instead, as a noun, it represents what you're waiting for. In other words, it means you're waiting for forever, as in the period of time itself, which may itself either refer to an indeterminate point in time in the future or an indefinitely long duration of time.

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To wrap up BoltClock's answer, the correct use for your intended meaning is in sentence two. – optakeover Jun 20 '12 at 20:12
Excellent, thank you! :) – SeaShepard Jun 20 '12 at 21:43

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