During or for? A difficult question for lots of people around the world

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To talk about a period of time in English, there are some words that we can use that depend on the context and even the time in which the events are taking place. Among those words, we have”during” and “for”, which we are going to learn how to use in this post. We are even going to give you examples that you can practice, so you can improve your abilities with this language. 

But we first need to start with their definitions…

What are "during and for"?

As we mentioned before, “during” and “for” are used to talk about a period of time.

It is very common to have confusion between them, because of their similarities, and some people can even confuse them with “since”, which we have explained in another post. But don’t worry, because we will clear any doubts you may have with this post.

Another quality that is important about these prepositions is that in general, we use them in the present perfect and the past continuous, but this does not exclude them from being used in other verbal times.

“During” is used specifically in this scenario

When we want to refer to an event or a group of actions that took place in a time, but they are not limited by the duration in a specific manner, that’s when you need to use this preposition.

They are focused on the development of the action, but as we said, they do not specify the duration of this period that is being mentioned. 

They are accompanied most of the time with a subject, and they answer the question “when”.

Let’s look at some examples using during:

  • I felt really interested during the movie. The story was awesome


  • I hope I will be with my family during the holidays


  • I am walking during break time

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We use “for” in the following manner

“For” is a preposition that allows us to indicate a period, but with the quality that it can measure time (months, years, days, hours, etc).

A key difference between “during” and “for”, is that for can answer the question “how long”. 

Just like the prepositions “during and since” which are similar, for can be used in every verbal time, but most of the time it is used in present continuous or continuous times. 

Let’s look at some examples: 

  • I was there for three months (simple past) 


  • She will be on USA for a year (future) 


  • He is taking box classes for 2 years (present continuous) 


  • I was traveling for 3 months (past continuous) 

Let’s practice with “during” and “for”

Just like everything we learn, we need to practice it in order to master it. With these exercises you will improve your English skills and take them to the next level. In this following exercise you have to use “during” or “for” according to each sentence. 

  • We have lived here ______ 3 months


  • ______ the weekend I went out a lot


  • I was waiting  _____ 24 hours


  • We have not seen each other ______ long time ago


  • Yesterday it rains _____ hours


  • I was in love of you _____ vacation time


  • How long will you go there _____?


  • I love going to the beach ______ the summer


  • I do not like when people talk _____ hours


  • He was asleep _____ half an hour


  • _____ my time here, I visited many beautiful places


  • We have 20 years _____ paying the loan


Practice makes perfect. Continue to practice and if you want more exercises, you can contact our team, and we will support you with your learning process. 





 We hope that with this post you can differentiate these prepositions and use them to further improve your vocabulary. If you want to learn more about “since” and any other preposition you can contact our team, and we will gladly help you. Take your English to the next level with B1B2. Good luck! 

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