War der Schmerz die ganze Woche über so schlimm?

English Translation

Has the pain been this bad all week?

What is über doing in this sentence? Could you just say “War der Schmerze die ganze Woche lang so schlimm”? Or perhaps even just “War der Schmerz die ganze Woche so schlimm”?

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All three variations (war der Schmerz die ganze Woche -/lang/über so schlimm) are ok.
If you want to be very meticulous, it is best to use
… eine ganze Woche lang… (for a whole week, emphasis on the duration)
… die ganze Woche über … (during the whole week, emphasis on the specific time)

It is even better to put the “über” (but not the “lang”!) in front:
War der Schmerz über die ganze Woche so schimm?
Then you are very near to the English construction:
Was the pain that bad over the whole week?
But If you use now the indefinite article
War der Schmerz über eine ganze Woche so schlimm?
then the sentence becomes ambiguous, because it will be understood as
Was the pain that bad for more than a week?

The differences are, eh, sublime and as I said, in active use as a non native speaker you shouldn’t care.

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