1

If I want to say “I used to cook by myself for(in, over, during) the first week after I came here”, which preposition and sentence below should I use? Which are right and wrong among these sentences below?

a. In the first week after I came here, I cooked on my own.

b. During the first week after I came here, I cooked on my own.

c. For the first week after I came here, I cooked on my own.

d. Over the first week after I came here, I cooked on my own.

e. For/In/During/Over the first two weeks after I came here?

f. For/In/During/Over the first week of when I was here, I cooked on my own.

g. For/In/During/Over the first week since I came here, I cooked on my own.

1

Here are the words that I would use. In several cases, the answer is, "It depends on what the speaker is trying to say." In those cases, I have included more than one answer, with my "best guess" listed first and other possibilities afterwards.

I used to cook by myself for the first week after I came here.

c. For the first week after I came here, I cooked on my own. [most common phrasing]

a. In the first week after I came here, I cooked on my own. [uncommon but possible]

e. For/In/During/Over the first two weeks after I came here, I cooked on my own. [I prefer "for" for most scenarios, but all are acceptable, with slightly varied shades of meaning.]

f. For the first week of when I was here, I cooked on my own. [The others don't make sense, because "the first week of when I was here" already implies a subset of the total time that you are talking about. Removing "of when" would make the other prepositions okay again.]

g. NONE: For/In/During/Over the first week since I came here, I cooked on my own. [Reason: You are describing a "first" week "since" you came here; the semantics don't work. I think what is intended is: "For the first week after I came here, I cooked on my own."]

Note: Changing the prepositions in examples (e) and (g) would change the meaning:

  • For the first week after I came here: Spans the entire first week.

  • In the first week after I came here: Describes an event that occurred between the start and the end of that first week.

  • During the first week after I came here: Like "in," but for an event that spanned time, e.g. "During the first week after I came here, I went to the bakery six times!"

  • Over the first week after I came here: Somewhat less common. Related to "Over the course of the first week..." Generally describes a progression, where you are comparing the situation at the start of the week versus the situation at the end of the week.

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  • Thank you so much for your detailed explanation. I really appreciate it. – Es Shin Nov 13 '15 at 6:15

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