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during or for - English grammar

During and for

by | 23 Mar 2018 | English Language


Have you ever suddenly stopped in the middle of a sentence not knowing whether to use during or for?

Be sure you are not the only one! Everyone who learns English knows this situation and has had the same doubts.


The chances are that the confusion stems from your mother language because in some languages, the same word is used for during and for.

Now the good news is that it is an easy point to understand and correct!


During is used to say when something happens:

  • When did it rain? It rained during the night.
  • When did you go to Italy? I went to Italy during my last holiday.


For is used to say how long it lasted.

  • How long did it rain? It rained for 3 hours.
  • How long were you in Italy? I was there for 10 days.


You can also combine both pieces of information in one sentence:

  • It rained for three hours during the night.
  • I was in Italy for ten days during my last holiday.


So, remember what question you need to answer: when? or how long?. That will determine whether you should use during or for.


Quick Reminder:

when? → during

how long? → for


There you are! You can now use during and for correctly to express the moment something happens and how long it lasts. Congratulations! 🙂


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  1. Ellen

    Great tip Yolaine! And so simple to remember.

    • Yolaine Bodin

      Thank you! I’m glad you find the tip easy to remember. I think it’s important to find easy to remember tips to help anyone wishing to improve their English! 🙂


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