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We use for in front of nouns with the articles a / an, as well as in front of the quantity that characterizes the noun.
During we use in front of nouns.
The question is: if, for example, the word the appears before the word "year", should we put for or during? In this case, "year" is just a noun, or one specific year that needs to be preceded by for?

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If you just show us a few sentences, we will be happy to tell you if they are correct. OK?

Clive

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red train 520We use for in front of nouns with the articles a / an, as well as in front of the quantity that characterizes the noun.During we use in front of nouns.

Yes. We use all prepositions in many different ways, with and without 'a' or 'an', with and without quantifiers. 'for' and 'during' are not special in this way.

red train 520The question is: if, for example, the word the appears before the word "year", should we put for or during?

You should not do that. 'for year' and 'during year' are not correct.

red train 520In this case, "year" is just a noun, or one specific year that needs to be preceded by for?

As mentioned above, the case of 'for year' or 'during year' should not be used.

"year" is always a noun, not just in this case. The noun "year" alone cannot specify a certain year.


I think you're asking how to use expressions like "for a year".

for a year, for two years, for three years, ...
for a month, for two months, for three months, ...
for a week, for two weeks, for three weeks, ...
for a day, for two days, for three days, ...
for an hour, for two hours, for three hours, ...

We do not use "during" in these expressions.

These are used to indicate the amount of time a state has been or will be in effect.

Susan has been ill for two weeks.
George will be away on business for three days.

They are also used to indicate the amount of time someone participated or will participate in an activity.

We swam in the pool for an hour yesterday.
The children are going to play in the park for a few hours today.


Expressions like "during the year".

during the year, during the month, during the week, during the day

These specify the limits within which something happened. Unlike the expressions with 'for', they do not say how long something continued to happen. And they don't specify exactly when within the year, month, or week something happened.

We do not use "for" in these expressions.

We can specify which year or month thus:

during the year 2017, during the month of April

Examples:

During the year 1492 Columbus discovered America.
Profits for the ACME Company peaked during the month of October last year.

Of course, it's easier to shorten these by using the preposition 'in':

Columbus discovered America in 1492.
Profits for the ACME Company peaked in October last year.

CJ

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Comments  

And without this in any way? I just need a grammar explanation.

 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.

Thank you so much!