We use for to say how long:
We have been waiting for twenty minutes.
They lived in Manchester for fifteen years.
We can also use a noun phrase without for:
Let’s go. We’ve been waiting nearly an hour.
I’ve worked here twenty years.
We use since with the present perfect or the past perfect to say when something started:
I have worked here since December.
They had been watching since seven o’clock in the morning.
- How long 1
We use from … to/until to say when something starts and finishes:
They stayed with us from Monday to Friday.
We will be on holiday from the sixteenth until the twentieth.
We can use to or until with a noun phrase:
But we can only use until with a clause:
- How long 2
Could you please help me with the following:
Could you please tell me if both options are possible:
1. He has been waiting to be served (in a cafe) for two hours.
2. He has been waiting for two hours to be served (in a cafe).
Thank you so much for your helpfulness and I'm very grateful for your answer to this post beforehand!!!
To be honest, I find both of these awkward, especially 2. Unless all three parts (to be served, in a café, for two hours) were really needed, I'd leave one of them out. I might say, for example, 'He's been waiting to be served for two hours'. It really depends a lot on the situation, especially how much the person I'm speaking to knows.
But if I had to choose one of those two, I suppose I'd choose 1. But I'm not sure I'd say that 2 is incorrect.
In general, when there is an adverbial of time ('for two hours') and an adverbial of place ('in a café') in the predicate, we put the place adverbial before the time adverbial. For example, we generally say 'I'm going to the beach tomorrow' and not *'I'm going tomorrow to the beach'.
Hope this helps.
All the best,
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I'm not sure I entirely understand the context here, but I'll try to answer.
I think the best option for the first question would be:
How long will the holiday last?
How long will the holiday be?
For the second question I would say:
How long did the/his/your holiday last?
How long was the/his/your holiday?
The LearnEnglish Team