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French grammar - For how long? - durations with pendant, depuis and pour

For how long? - durations with pendant, depuis & pour

Firstly we can use combien de temps? to ask about durations of time - 'how long?' or 'how much time?'

To answer this question the prepositions depuis, pendant and pour can be used to specify the duration of an event.

Use pendent ('during') to talk about durations that started in the past. The event may either have ended or be ongoing.

Use depuis ('since') in a context that emphasizes a duration that continues up to the present.

-- depuis can also be used to talk about actions in the past that were interrupted.

-- And depuis can also be used to talk about a duration since a particular date to the present.

Use pour ('for') to talk about durations in the future with a concrete start and end.

-- Note that pendant can also be used in place of pour in these situations.

Examples:
Pendant combien de temps avez-vous vécu à Paris ?
How long did you live in Paris?

completed in the past pendant

combien de temps means 'how long' or 'how much time'

vécu is the past participl of vivre

vivre (verb) means 'to live'

J'ai vécu à Paris pendant dix ans.
I lived in Paris for ten years.

completed in the past pendant

Pendant combien de temps avez-vous étudié le français ?
How long have you studied French?

completed in the past pendant

J'ai étudié le français pendant trois ans.
I studied French for three years.

completed in the past pendant

J'ai joué au foot pendant trois heures aujourd'hui.
I played soccer for three hours today.

completed in the past pendant

Je joue au foot pendant trois heures tous les mercredis.
I play football for three hours every Wednesday.

ongoing pendant

La classe a été suspendue pendant un an.
The class was suspended for a year.

ongoing pendant

Assumes that the suspension will continue into the future.

Depuis combien de temps vivez-vous à Bordeaux ?
How long have you lived in Bordeaux?

up to the present depuis

Je vis à Bordeaux depuis dix ans.
I have lived in Bordeaux for ten years.

up to the present depuis

Mon enfant joue du piano depuis cinq mois.
My child has been playing the piano for five months.

up to the present depuis

Leur fille et mon fils se fréquentent depuis trois ans.
Their daughter and I have been dating for three years.

up to the present depuis

se fréquenter means 'to date' or 'to go out together'

Depuis quand étudiez-vous le français ?
Since when do you study French?

depuis for a duration from a particular date to the present

J'étudie le français depuis 2020.
I have been studying French since 2020.

depuis for a duration from a particular date to the present

Ça veut dire que j'étudie le français depuis trois ans.
That means I've been studying French for three years.

up to the present depuis

Depuis combien de temps dormais-tu quand je suis arrivé ?
How long had you been asleep when I arrived?

depuis for an interupted action in the past

Il vivait en France depuis deux ans quand je l'ai vu.
He had been living in France for two years when I saw him.

depuis for an interupted action in the past

Elle dormait depuis trois heures quand le chien a aboyé.
She had been sleeping for three hours when the dog barked.

depuis for an interupted action in the past

Pendant combien de temps allez-vous vivre à Lille ?
How long are you going to live in Lille?

ongoing with start in the future pendant

Je vais vivre à Lille pendant dix ans.
I am going to live in Lille for ten years.

ongoing with start in the future pendant

Je vais y habiter pour seulement deux mois.
I will live there for only two months.

start and end in the future pour

Il va me rendre visite pour dix jours.
He is going to visit me for ten days.

start and end in the future pour

On dit qu'il va pleuvoir pendant deux semaines.
They say it will rain for two weeks.

start and end in the future with pendant used in place of pour