Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

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.

or

I have been waiting forever.

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

share|improve this question
1  
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
add comment

1 Answer 1

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.

share|improve this answer
    
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
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.