My birthday is not even for 3 days.

This sentence is from a movie. How is it interpreted for native speakers?

As I know, the preposition "for" usually if time is related means during. So I thought that the duration of birthday is 3 days. but in reality, it is impossible that a birthday is more than one day.

Others say that the meaning of above sentence is like three days away from the moment speaker is telling.

I want to know a general approach to the interpretation in detail.

Please, help me.

  • It's probably a paraphrase of 'It's not even my birthday for three days.' Jan 26, 2018 at 3:13
  • Is the above sentence often expressed? It's not easy for me to interpret since there is no verb and the subject is not a person.
    – Woo Choi
    Jan 26, 2018 at 5:56
  • My guess is: X acted as though today was Y's birthday, but Y is telling X that X was three days early. "My birthday is not even for 3 days."
    – GEdgar
    Jan 26, 2018 at 13:16
  • GEdgar - it seems to me that your guess is the most plausible. Thanks.
    – Woo Choi
    Jan 27, 2018 at 13:47

1 Answer 1


The use of 'for' seems idiomatic and an abbreviated form of 'for another'. Native speakers would understand it to mean 3 days from now (in the future).

  • No mention of the phrase's ambiguity? Some people (notably D-list celebs) celebrate their landmark birthdays for a week, so the speaker could be saying petulantly that their birthday lasts less than three days.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 26, 2018 at 8:37
  • @Mari-LouA I don't think anyone would expect that interpretation without something like "being celebrated for". Even if someone does celebrate their birthday over a long period, they wouldn't say "my birthday is for a week".
    – Barmar
    Jan 27, 2018 at 0:00
  • @Mari-LouA Another example: "Chanukkah lasts 8 nights", but we don't say "Chanukkah is for 8 nights".
    – Barmar
    Jan 27, 2018 at 0:01
  • @Barmar note, I did use the verb "last" in my comment, I just wanted to nudge Ross into giving a fuller answer, that's all.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 27, 2018 at 0:30

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