I wonder if "for 50 years" has the same meaning with "over 50 years" ?

Anyone who can help is highly appreciated.

  • Hard to tell without context, but generally "over 50 years" implies "more than 50 years."
    – Rob_Ster
    Mar 28, 2018 at 16:06
  • 'He is over 50 years old' means more than 50 years. 'He was married for 50 years' means 50 years exactly. But 'for 50 years' can also means 'during 50 years' so it is 50 exactly. Context.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 28, 2018 at 16:11
  • What if one says from 1985 to 2035? Do "for 50 years" have the same meaning with "over 50 years"? Mar 28, 2018 at 16:11

1 Answer 1


Depends on the context, of course, but I think in general "for 50 years" implies a continuous state of something, whereas "over 50 years" implies change or growth.

For example, "she has lived in the United States for 50 years." That is a continuous state.

However, I would say "She perfected her invention over 50 years." In this example, something is actively being done.

Also, a quick note is that usually people don't say "over 50 years" unless they mean more than 50 years, as the comments indicated. In my second example, it would be much more common to here "She perfected her invention over the course of 50 years".

  • Thank you for your answer. So, with this context : From 2013 to 2014 --> this will be for 2 years or one can say over 1 year. Is it correct? Mar 28, 2018 at 16:20
  • Our band had no paying gigs over summer last year. The usage doesn't always have to imply that "something is actively being done", and arguably in my example the primary allusion is to an "extended, continuous" state (of not having any work). Mar 28, 2018 at 16:25
  • @DyanSavitri yes, those are both correct to me!
    – Kelly
    Mar 28, 2018 at 16:31
  • @FumbleFingers ah, good example. You're right, I suppose my reasoning isn't always true
    – Kelly
    Mar 28, 2018 at 16:31

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