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How long

Level: beginner

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.

Be careful!

We can use to or until with a noun phrase:

My great-grandmother lived in Liverpool from 1940 to her death.
My great-grandmother lived in Liverpool from 1940 until her death.

But we can only use until with a clause

My great-grandmother lived in Liverpool from 1940 to she died.
My great-grandmother lived in Liverpool from 1940 until she died.

How long 2



It's an helpful tip.

If someone will get holiday for 10 days, how can ask in proper way that “how many days/how long he got his holiday” and after passing his holiday “how long/how many days he had his holiday.”

Hi amit_ck,

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

Sir you didn't answer my question. Could you please answer my question. Thank you.

Hello amit_ck,

Please be patient when waiting for answers to questions. We are a small team here at LearnEnglish and we receive many questions every day. While we try to answer as quicky as we can, sometimes it can take a few days. Posting messages asking us to respond more quickly only slows the process down.



The LearnEnglish Team

I'm really really sorry sir I couldn't understan. Thank you for helping me.

Hello Teachers,
I just want to check a little grammar.

When someone says:
"How long has she/he been practicing architecture?"
is it grammatically correct to answer like this?
"She/He has been practicing architecture since 1984" (instead of saying "for more than 30 years")

I personally feel that the answer should be "for + period" to the question of "how long...?" and "since + a certain past time" to the one of "since when...?". But I was not sure when asked by some students in my class and it would be grateful if I could receive some reviews here.

Best Regards

Hello YSATO201602,

A question with 'How long' implies for rather than since, but that does not mean that 'since' is incorrect as it provides the same information. I would say that 'for' is the expected and most likely answer but that 'since' is not wrong.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Is the How Long and How far is same? I am very confused about it I wrote about How long from here xxxxxx but still, i am confused could any one please guide me?

Hello syedarslan619,

'how long' usually refers to 1) an amount or period of time or 2) a measurement. For example, 'How long have you lived in Islamabad?' is asking about a period of time and 'How long is that table?' is asking about a measurement.

'how far' is usually used to refer to a distance. For example, 'How far is it from here to Islamabad?' We could answer '650km'. Sometimes we refer to distances by speaking of time ('10 hours by car'), but really 'far' is asking about a distance measurement.

I hope this helps you.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team