In this English lesson, you will learn the definition and how to use the English prepositions FOR and DURING.
Mark went skiing during the winter.
“during” tells us WHEN Mark went skiing.
In this example, it means “in the winter.”
We use “during” before nouns and noun phrases.
Mark went skiing for 2 weeks.
“for” tells us HOW LONG Mark went skiing.
We use “for” before a period of time to refer to duration.
“for” tells us the duration: 2 weeks.
Meaning of “during”
The preposition “during” has 2 main definitions and uses:
“throughout the period”
From the start of a period and until the end of a period of time, something happens.
“in the course of an action or event”
In the middle of an action or event, something happens. That is why we say “during” tells us WHEN something happens.
Examples of “during”:
I use my car during the winter.
I went to the toilet 5 times during the exam.
My phone rang during the film.
The dog barked during the storm.
The journalist was busy during the election.
“During” – The form
during + noun phrase
Often the noun phrase is an event.
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Comparing “for” and “during”
Before a meeting, Mark says to his secretary:
Mark: “I will be in a meeting for 3 hours.”
Secretary: “Ok, I will take your messages.”
(He is telling her that the meeting will last 3 hours. The duration of the meeting is 3 hours.)
After the meeting, his secretary says to Mark:
Secretary: “Mark, a customer called during your meeting.”
(The customer called in the course of the meeting. “during the meeting” does not describe the length of the phone call. “during” tells us WHEN the customer called.)
Jane fell asleep during the lesson.
(Jane fell asleep in the middle of the lesson.)
Jane fell asleep for 10 minutes during the lesson.
(Jane fell asleep in the middle of the lesson. The duration of her sleep was 10 minutes.)
It snowed during the night.
(It snowed at some point in the night. We are not specifying the duration.)
It snowed for 6 hours during the night.
(We are specifying the duration (for 6 hours))
We do NOT use DURING before a period of time to refer to duration:
Sarah has known Jane during 10 years.
Sarah has known Jane for 10 years.
I have been reading during 3 hours.
I have been reading for 3 hours.
I went to London during 3 days.
I went to London for 3 days.