Updated: Feb 22, 2022
How long have you been working on that project? What milestones did you reach during that time? Why do we use FOR and not DURING in both questions?
In English there are several ways of expressing the duration of an action or a period of time, and some of them are confusing because they seem very similar. This is the case of during and for, in some languages both prepositions translate as 'during' but have very different uses.
DURING vs FOR
DURING is used to say WHEN something happens; FOR is used to say HOW LONG it lasts.
Let's compare: - We have been working on the project FOR two years now. - We reached quite a few milestones DURING that time. - We came across some difficulties DURING the stressful period. - We were able to deal with them with sheer determination FOR as long as we could.
Differences between DURING and FOR
The best way to distinguish during and for is to ask yourself what question they answer.
While DURING answers the question- When....? (DURING + the + noun)
FOR answers the question- How long....? (usually FOR +period of time)
Test yourself: DURING or FOR ?
Complete with the appropriate preposition:
The Business team has just returned from a trip to a sales conference yesterday where they met some clients _______ the day. - After that, they went out for lunch ________ two hours and then returned to the conference after.
By the time they arrived back to the conference they had been gone ________ three hours in total, so their manager wasn't impressed at all.
There was supposed to be another conference _______ the Easter holidays, however, due to the fact they made a killing at the first sales conference they didn't need to attend it in the end.
They will make another business trip ________ 2 weeks in October in order to propose a promising deal to their client.
Now that you’ve learned how to nail duration, time measurement & progress using ''DURING and FOR''' the only thing left is to incorporate it into your daily business English use today.