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Last spring, Mario spent it sending letters, pretending to be someone he wasn't.

Does spent it imply that Mario spent that whole spring sending letters? Or not necessarily?

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    The sentence you present is not idiomatic, so it's a bit hard to guess what was meant. – Hot Licks Jun 22 '17 at 2:03
  • Maybe they’re talking about Mario’s fortune that he no longer has. Without additional context we can only guess what it means. – Jim Jun 22 '17 at 2:06
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Your sentence--Last spring, Mario spent it sending letters, pretending to be someone he wasn't--doesn't work, because "last spring" is an adverb; "it" doesn't refer to "last spring." "Spend" is a verb that takes an object.

You need something like:

"It was spring. Mario spent it sending letters . . ."

Or you can say:

Mario spent last spring (or: an entire week last spring) sending letters, pretending . . .

In these later two rewrites, spend has it object "it" (which refers back to spring) or "last spring."

As another answer suggests, "sending letters" is an important activity but it doesn't need to be (can't be) the only thing Mario does during the spring or during a week in the spring.

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The implication with "spent the spring doing something" is that the thing you were described as doing was one of the more important/time-consuming things you did during that spring. It also implies that it was done relatively frequently throughout the spring. I wouldn't say that the whole of Mario's time during that spring was spent sending letters, though.

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  • What if it was the most important thing Mario did that spring but only did it for a week? – alex Jun 22 '17 at 1:43
  • Then you can be more specific, saying "Mario spent a week during the spring sending letters." – probably_someone Jun 22 '17 at 1:43

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