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Also I would like to say that during last 4 or 5 years something has become my main goal (at work). I do not know how which preposition is the correct one, whether to use "the" with "last years" and if "get" can be used for the change or something else describing slow change.

During (in) last (the) 4-5 years, it got (became? grown?) my main goal.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

In the last five years, [it] has become my main goal.

In the last five years, [it] has grown to become my main goal.

You could also use "Over the last five years". I would also consider "primary aim" as an alternative to "main goal".

If you'd like to say 4-5 years, I'd use "In the last four to five years". You can also swap the clauses if you like to:

[It] has grown to become my main goal over the last four to five years.

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Thanks. However, I would like to say it was 4 or 5 years. Also could it be like: In the last 4-5 years..? – Pietro Jul 22 '12 at 15:35
Updated. Unless it's very informal, I would spell the numbers out. – coleopterist Jul 22 '12 at 15:42
@Pietro: It can be in the last four or five years which is a usual way of conveying duration in common English as well as the ones that were mentioned. – Tear--Here Jul 23 '12 at 3:46

I can't exactly put my finger on why, but "during" doesn't work very well for me in OP's example, and I find "in" even less acceptable. To me, the natural phrasing is

Over the last 4-5 years, it became my main goal. (or perhaps better, has become).

Personally, I'd prefer "objective" over "goal" here. I think that's because I find it slightly awkward to envisage multiple goals as objectives/targets. I know there are two on a football pitch, but each individual player is only interested in putting the ball into one of them.

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Fumble what is the difference between and when do we use "Over the last 4-5 years, it became my main goal." and "Over the last 4-5 years, it has become my main goal.? – Policewala May 9 at 6:00
@Policewala: For that specific example, it's not easy to see how there could be any difference in meaning without conjuring up some weird contrived context. So the main difference is simply that for most native speakers, present perfect (has become) probably sounds "better" because that tense more accurately reflects the intended meaning; the act of "becoming" which started in the past is ongoing and/or still relevant now (at time of speaking). – FumbleFingers May 10 at 13:30
...The difference is more obviously meaningful with, say Over the last few months John became / has become suicidally depressed. With Simple Past people would be quite likely to assume John is now dead, but with Present Perfect it's an absolute certainty that although he's (still) suicidally depressed, he hasn't actually killed himself (yet! :) – FumbleFingers May 10 at 13:35
Than kyou Fumble. If I say 'He went out today' does it mean he he may still me out or he has come back? And when I say ' He has gone out today', does it mean he has not come back? Is this difference right? And tell me if find any more differences. Also could you tell what the difference between: I have done the home and I did the homework. I can't figure out the difference. Many thanks! – Policewala May 12 at 1:36

To me, "During the last 4-5 years, it has become my main goal" sounds better than the other options. You could also say, "It has become my main goal over the last 4-5 years".

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