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what is the difference between "minute by minute" and "minute after minute"

asked 2015-06-30 14:43:12 -0400

markus gravatar image

what is the difference between "minute by minute" and "minute after miinute"

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answered 2015-07-03 11:36:05 -0400

usagi5886 gravatar image

If you search the Corpus of Contemporary American English for these two expressions, you will see that minute by minute can be used as an adverb:

  • cover these campaigns minute by minute
  • planned out minute by minute

...as well as an adjective:

  • a minute by minute narrative of the events
  • a minute by minute account of his last critical hours

In both cases, minute by minute describes the pacing of some kind of progress (usually a flow of information).

Minute after minute is substantially less frequent, and its usage is slightly different. It can also be used as an adverb:

  • listened to this guy minute after minute
  • stood there dazed minute after minute

But it also has two uses where it functions as a noun:

  • In the construction "minute after minute of _"

    • recounting minute after minute of what he remembered
    • put minute after minute of science information on the screen
  • In the construction "for minute after minute"

    • bounded ahead for minute after minute
    • fired and reloaded, often for minute after minute

As you can probably gather from these examples, the emphasis here is not on the pace but rather the duration: minute after minute emphasizes how something continues without stopping.

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Good answer.

A S Sundar gravatar imageA S Sundar ( 2015-11-23 11:08:51 -0400 )edit
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Asked: 2015-06-30 14:42:47 -0400

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Last updated: Jul 03 '15