Expressing for + [duration] with either pendant, durant, depuis or pour (prepositions of time)

Look at these sentences using  for + [duration] in English:

J'habite à Paris depuis cinq ans, et ça me plaît toujours !
I've lived in Paris for five years, and I still love it!

Il a dormi pendant sept heures la nuit dernière.
He slept for seven hours last night.

Ils vont étudier à Montréal pour six mois.
They're going to study in Montreal for six months.

As you can see, for + [duration] will be expressed in different ways in French, according to context.


depuis + [durée] = for + [duration]

Je suis là depuis quarante-cinq minutes.
I've been here for forty-five minutes.

Marina rêve d'aller en France depuis des années.
Marina has dreamt of going to France for years.

On sort ensemble depuis trois mois.
We've been dating for three months.

Il parle depuis deux heures !
He's been talking for two hours!

In all these cases, the action started in the past, but is still ongoing at the time we speak.

In French, you use depuis to express an ongoing duration.

See also Using 'depuis' (since / for) with Le Présent and NOT Le Passé Composé (prepositions of time) and more advanced Using Le Passé Composé or Le Présent in negative sentences with ''depuis''

(pendant / durant) + [durée] = for/during + [duration]

J'étais là pendant quarante-cinq minutes.
I was there for forty-five minutes.

Je me brosse les dents trois minutes à chaque fois.
I brush my teeth for three minutes each time.

Il court une heure tous les matins.
He runs for one hour every morning.

Il court pendant une heure tous les matins.
He runs for one hour every morning.

Il court durant une heure tous les matins.
He runs for one hour every morning.

Note that these cases all express a duration with a clear beginning and end. Whether they take place in the past, present, or future, they are considered as enclosed in a specific timeframe

In French, you use pendant/durant + [durée], or simply the duration itself,  to express a duration with a clear beginning and end.

 

pour + [durée] = for + [duration]

Je resterai chez toi pour une semaine.
I will stay at your place for a week.

Je pars pour deux semaines en avril.
I'm going away for two weeks in April.

Nous irons en Guadeloupe pour les vacances.
We'll go to Guadeloupe for the holiday.

Mes parents seront à Toulouse pour deux mois
My parents will be in Toulouse for two months.

These sentences all express future durations, with a notion of intent, hence the use of pour

In French, you use pour + [durée] only to express a duration in the future.


Note that in this context, you can also use pendant/durant + (or simply) [durée], as the durations expressed have a beginning and an end:

Je pars deux semaines en avril.
I'm going away for two weeks in April.

Je pars pendant deux semaines en avril.
I'm going away for two weeks in April.

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Je pars deux semaines en avril.
I'm going away for two weeks in April.


Marina rêve d'aller en France depuis des années.
Marina has dreamt of going to France for years.


Je parlerai deux heures à cette conférence.
I will speak for two hours at that conference.


Je me brosse les dents trois minutes à chaque fois.
I brush my teeth for three minutes each time.


Il parle depuis deux heures !
He's been talking for two hours!


Il court durant une heure tous les matins.
He runs for one hour every morning.


Il a dormi pendant sept heures la nuit dernière.
He slept for seven hours last night.


Martin a habité à Paris cinq ans, avant de revenir vivre ici.
Martin lived in Paris for five years, before moving back here.


Ils vont étudier à Montréal pour six mois.
They're going to study in Montreal for six months.


On sort ensemble depuis trois mois.
We've been dating for three months.


Il court pendant une heure tous les matins.
He runs for one hour every morning.


Je pars pour deux semaines en avril.
I'm going away for two weeks in April.


J'étais là pendant quarante-cinq minutes.
I was there for forty-five minutes.


Je resterai chez toi pour une semaine.
I will stay at your place for a week.


Nous irons en Guadeloupe pour les vacances.
We'll go to Guadeloupe for the holiday.


Il court une heure tous les matins.
He runs for one hour every morning.


Je pars pendant deux semaines en avril.
I'm going away for two weeks in April.


Je suis là depuis quarante-cinq minutes.
I've been here for forty-five minutes.


Mes parents seront à Toulouse pour deux mois
My parents will be in Toulouse for two months.


J'habite à Paris depuis cinq ans, et ça me plaît toujours !
I've lived in Paris for five years, and I still love it!


On reste à Marseille pendant une semaine.
We're staying in Marseille for a week.


Q&A Forum 12 questions, 29 answers

Can 'Pendant' be related to the present?

The video in the following lesson says that it has no relation to the present

Using 'depuis' (since / for) with Le Présent and NOT Le Passé Composé (prepositions of time)
Asked 3 months ago

The lesson says that pendant is used to express the duration of a time span which starts in the past and continues into the present. So, yes, it is related to the present.

Is that what you were asking?

Yes. But the video in the link above confused me, it says 'pendant' refer to the entire duration of an action in the past or future, with no relation to the present 

Can 'Pendant' be related to the present?

The video in the following lesson says that it has no relation to the present

Using 'depuis' (since / for) with Le Présent and NOT Le Passé Composé (prepositions of time)

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Is it best use pour or pendant/depuis for a fixed duration starting now? Or can I use either?

For example “I just got here. I’ll be staying for an hour”

Asked 3 months ago
Depuis cannot be used for a timed event starting in the present and continuing into the future. It can only be used to express a duration of time that started in the past and still continues in the present, or that both started and stopped in the past.

Pendant can be used to describe something that happened in the past, or the future, with no relevance to the present time. Pour can only be used relating to the future. 

For your example, pendant or pour could be used, and you could say Je viens d'arriver. Je resterai pendant/pour une heure. 

Is it best use pour or pendant/depuis for a fixed duration starting now? Or can I use either?

For example “I just got here. I’ll be staying for an hour”

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How could you say "Gregory is going away for the holidays." ?

I understand that "Gregory part pour les vacances." works and seems to match the following less example most closely: "Nous irons en Guadeloupe pour les vacances."

However, I don't understand how durant and pendant also work with this example. Can someone kindly explain it as I don't see how it matches the examples in the lesson. Thanks in advance!

Asked 5 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Alex,

I think you would have to say -

"Gregory s'en va pour les vacances."  

to indicate he is not staying at home using the verb 's'en aller'.  

The use of the verb partir is too close to the expression 'partir en vacances' (to go on holiday) and this will clarify the meaning...

Hope this helps!

Hi Cécile,

Thanks for your quick response. Looks like I lost a couple letters in my initial reply, it should read "lesson example" not "less example." The subject is the title of one of the questions I received in the quiz and 3 answers were marked correct:

How could you say "Gregory is going away for the holidays." ?Gregory part durant les vacances.Gregory part pendant les vacances.Gregory part pour les vacances.

I think I understand why "Gregory part pour les vacances" works, but need some assistance for the durant and pendant answers and why that also works. The answer was marked as nearly correct with just the single answer checked, so it may be a subtle reason that I can't seem to determine reading through the lesson. Any help would be much appreciated, thanks!

oof, the reply field seems to display the text much more differently than what is actually published, let's try this again:

How could you say "Gregory is going away for the holidays." ?

Gregory part durant les vacances.

Gregory part pendant les vacances.

Gregory part pour les vacances.

Each of the three above answers is marked by kwiziq bot as correct.

CécileKwiziq language super star

In my opinion, the first two sentences mean that during Gregory’s holiday period , he will go away and the last one means that for his holidays Gregory is going away. 

So they are all correct with slightly different meanings.

Hope this helps!

CécileKwiziq language super star

In my opinion, the first two sentences mean that during Gregory’s holiday period , he will go away and the last one means that for his holidays Gregory is going away. 

So they are all correct with slightly different meanings.

Hope this helps!

DA2

I agree with Alex regarding ; part durant, part pendant, and part pour les vacances.   There is no beginning or end specified thus pour was the only one I selected.

The instruction on this topic is insufficient to determine the correct response according to Kwiziq.

How could you say "Gregory is going away for the holidays." ?

I understand that "Gregory part pour les vacances." works and seems to match the following less example most closely: "Nous irons en Guadeloupe pour les vacances."

However, I don't understand how durant and pendant also work with this example. Can someone kindly explain it as I don't see how it matches the examples in the lesson. Thanks in advance!

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JayC1

how could I say 'How long ago was this photo taken?' I.e. Single event, not duration.

Asked 11 months ago
AurélieKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Bonjour Jay !

I'd say the most colloquial way to ask this is the simple:

Quand est-ce que cette photo a été prise ?

Used on its own, how long ago? could be il y a combien de temps ?

However, it would sound a bit clumsy (though not completely incorrect) to use it in a longer question -> Il y a combien de temps que cette photo a été prise ?

I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

how could I say 'How long ago was this photo taken?' I.e. Single event, not duration.

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I wrote 'pendant' in an answer in passé composé, which was marked srong, with 'durant' the acceptable answer.

In the lesson it always says says 'pendant/durant.' Is there some tricky difference?
Asked 1 year ago
Can you post the sentence in question?

I wrote 'pendant' in an answer in passé composé, which was marked srong, with 'durant' the acceptable answer.

In the lesson it always says says 'pendant/durant.' Is there some tricky difference?

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Jean va en France pendant une semaine.? Pourquoi pendant et pas pour? Je ne comprends pas.

Asked 1 year ago
AurélieKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Bonjour Shruti !

Yes, as Chris said, pour is used for future events. In French, just like in English, we can talk about future events either with Le Futur - J'irai en France pour trois jours (I'll go to Paris for three days) - or Le Présent - Je pars pour deux mois (I'm leaving for two months).

As long as the duration takes place in the future, you will use pour and not pendant.

I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

Pour is for future events. This sentence is in present tense. 

-- Chris (not a native speaker). 

Come to think of it, I believe that "pour" would also be a possibility in this context as the future tense is implied even though the verb is conjugated in present tense.

-- Chris (not a native teacher).

Jean va en France pendant une semaine.? Pourquoi pendant et pas pour? Je ne comprends pas.

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The use of pour.

The problem I have is with the question of how to translate "Gregory goes away for the holidays" and one of the answers is give as "Gregory part pour les vacances." In the notes the use of "pour" as I understand is used only with future durations of events, either stated, or even implied. The question though is a general statement of habit as I read it, so is "pour allowed in these cases?
Asked 1 year ago
This is a good question but a subtle one. I would definitely wait for the qualified answer of a native speaker. However, my personal take on this below: The use of "pour" in the sentence "Gregory part pour les vacances" is more of a directional sense than a temporal. Because used in a temporal sense, pour can also mean "pendant", as in : "Je vais être à Paris pour 5 jours." Therefore the sentece: "En général je pars pour les vacances en été." (Generally I go on vacation in summer.) is perfectly OK. -- Chris (not a native speaker).
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Paul ! Thank you very much for this question, as I had to think it over before finding what the issue was :) Here I actually used the wrong tense in English, as it should have been "Gregory is going on holiday.". Indeed, you were correct in that you wouldn't use "pour" for a general statement, and thanks to you, I've now corrected the question. Bonne journée !
JanB1
I think that the use of "part" does not indicate a general habit. It means something like he's leaving now, at this time. So that would explain why you can't use "pour" I think. I am not an expert! 

The use of pour.

The problem I have is with the question of how to translate "Gregory goes away for the holidays" and one of the answers is give as "Gregory part pour les vacances." In the notes the use of "pour" as I understand is used only with future durations of events, either stated, or even implied. The question though is a general statement of habit as I read it, so is "pour allowed in these cases?

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En vs pendant

I don't understand the difference (if any) between "en" and "pendant" when it comes to duration. Could you say both "j'ai mangé pendant une heure" and "j'ai mangé en une heure" to express "I ate for one hour"? Are there other examples (with duration) where you'd have to use one over the other?
Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

Well, actually, there is a difference between en and pendant when expressing duration of an action.They are very similar in that way but not enirely.

"Pendant" expresses a global duration of an action which might or might not be continued or repeated.
"En" in the temporal context stands for a duration of an uninterrupted action or a time limit is somehow implied.
For example:

1) "Levez les bras et baissez-les. Faites-le pendant cinq minutes."

2) "Levez les bras et baissez-les. Faites-le en cinq minutes."

The first sentence implies that you raise and lower the arms repeatedly during five minutes.
The second sentence says to raise and lower the arms once within five minutes.

So "pendant" is very much like "during" in English. And "en" is "in" in English.

I hope that helps to clarify the situation.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

AurélieKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Bonjour à tous !

Chris and Tom are correct regarding the example "J'irai à Paris en trois semaines.". This sentence would actually mean something like "It will take me three weeks to go to Paris.", as en refers to the duration it takes to accomplish an action.

Tom, your last examples are correct indeed :)

As Tom pointed out, the related lesson would be:
En vs dans (prepositions of time)">En vs dans (prepositions of time)">En vs dans (prepositions of time)">En vs dans (prepositions of time)
as well as
https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/expressing-for-duration-with-either-pendant-durant-depuis-or-pour

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

RonC1
Bonjour Tom, The most obvious answer to your question is that you are translating from English into French, like word for word. This never works, Ce ne march jamais ! French is not just English translated into French, the French language has a completely different syntax for phrase structure. That being said, the word «en» usage as it relates to time is like this: J'irai à Paris en trois semaines. --> I will go to Paris in 3 weeks. It is used for events in the future, not the past. There are basically 3 forms to use in speaking about duration of an action in the past: depuis, pendant, il y a. J'ai étudié français depuis trois ans. --> I have studied French for 3 years. (with this structure it means that you continue to study French.) J'ai étudié français pendant trois ans. --> I studied French for 3 years. (with this structure it means that you studied French for 3 years but you no longer study French -- one might say that pendant is used in situations of «one and done») J'ai étudié français il y a trois ans. --> I studied French 3 years ago. The only thing I can think of where this phrase «j'ai mangé en une heure» might possibly be used would be a scenario where one is discussing speed eating and one is comparing how quickly they have eaten in the past since the literal translation is along the lines of «I've eaten in an hour» (possibly not a very satisfying meal-time experience, I might add). One key point to keep in mind is the French language is art, it flows like music, it describes like an artist making a painting, and for the most part the syntax describes scenarios in a very beautiful sense unlike our use of English. I hope this is helpful to you.
English isn't my native language, so I doubt that that's where the problem lies ;-) The reason I asked about "en" with duration, with eating as an example, is that this very example is used in this lesson: En vs dans (prepositions of time)">En vs dans (prepositions of time) Please correct me if I'm wrong, but there seem to be ample examples in this lecture where "en" is used to express duration ("it took this long"), including in the past. Am I missing something? My question, then, is how this works differently than using "pendant". On another note, I don't understand a couple of your examples. Is "J'ai étudié français depuis trois ans" really correct? Shouldn't it be "J'étudie (le) français depuis trois ans"? Present, not passé composé? The other example you use that I don't understand is "J'irai à Paris en trois semaines". Again paraphrasing the lecture En vs dans (prepositions of time)">En vs dans (prepositions of time) it says we should use "dans" in this case: "J'irai à Paris _dans_ trois semaines". Are "en" and "dans" interchangable is this particular example, and if so; why?
Hi Ron, I read your well written reply but I am not sure I agree with some examples you give. here are the ones I see things differently: J'irai à Paris en trois semaines. -- That, to me, does NOT mean that I will go to Paris in three weeks, because in this case you would say "dans trois semaines". If you want to say that you have been studying French for 3 years and are still at it, you would use the present tense in French: Je étudie le français depuis 3 ans. You don't use the passé composé in this case. The sentence "J'ai mangé en une heure." is perfectly OK in French. It means that I ate within one hour, meaning that eating took less than one hour. Kind regards, -- Chris (not a native speaker).
Thank you, Chris, this has been my understanding as well. Also, would you agree with the following examples? - J'ai lu le livre en une heure - I read the book in one hour (it took me one hour to finish it) - J'ai lu le livre pendant une heure - I read the book for one hour (there was more left to read after I finished this sitting)
Yes, these are good examples, I believe. -- Chris.

En vs pendant

I don't understand the difference (if any) between "en" and "pendant" when it comes to duration. Could you say both "j'ai mangé pendant une heure" and "j'ai mangé en une heure" to express "I ate for one hour"? Are there other examples (with duration) where you'd have to use one over the other?

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"Isabelle ne fume PLUS depuis troise ans

Why PLUS is added here and PAS?
Asked 2 years ago
RonC1
Bonsoir Ajit, It appears that your question is «Why use PLUS here and not PAS? If that is indeed the case, Isabelle did smoke, hence the use of PLUS, she does not smoke any longer and hasn't for 3 years. J'espère que cela vous aidera.

"Isabelle ne fume PLUS depuis troise ans

Why PLUS is added here and PAS?

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Futur antérieur

Out of interest is pour still correct usage with the futur antérieur, or may only pendant be used? D’ici là j’aurai parlé pour 45 minutes. (???) By then I will have spoken for 45 minutes. D’ici là j’aurai parlé pendant 45 minutes. By then I will have spoken for 45 minutes.
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Andy !

That's a very interesting question !

The answer is no, you won't use pour with Le Futur Antérieur.
I guess the issue is that the reason pour can be used in future sentences is that it carries the notion of a purpose, a goal to achieve, which can't apply to already completed actions.

So you would say:
D’ici là j’aurai parlé pendant 45 minutes.
D’ici là j’aurai parlé 45 minutes.


À bientôt !

Futur antérieur

Out of interest is pour still correct usage with the futur antérieur, or may only pendant be used? D’ici là j’aurai parlé pour 45 minutes. (???) By then I will have spoken for 45 minutes. D’ici là j’aurai parlé pendant 45 minutes. By then I will have spoken for 45 minutes.

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Is there still a problem with the use of "pour" in this lesson?

Asked 2 years ago
RonC1
A teacher explained to me the use of "pour" for expressing duration as that it is only use in speaking of a time in the future, I am going to Paris for ten days, J'irai à Paris pour ten jours. It is never used in expressing an event in the past that I am aware of. Ron
RonC1
Bonjour Adrienne, Here is another explanation for the use of "pour" in expressing time duration. I find it helpful at times to check other resources to find out how that author views a question. Pour can express the duration of an event only in the future. Note that pendant could also be used in all of these. Je vais y habiter pour 2 mois. I'm going to live there for 2 months. Il étudiera en Europe pour 3 ans. He'll study in Europe for 3 years. Le projet est suspendu pour un an. The project is suspended for a year. Although the verb in the final example is not in the future, the use of pour indicates that the one-year suspension is either about to start or is currently underway. If the suspension had already occurred, you would have to use pendant: Le projet a été suspendu pendant un an. The project was suspended for a year. Ron

Is there still a problem with the use of "pour" in this lesson?

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JimC1

We never use "pour" to indicate a duration

Asked 2 years ago
JimC1
Dated July 2016 Dear Jim, Thanks for reporting a mistake on the site, and I apologise for taking so long to reply to you. I have seen and agreed with your very useful feedback, but unfortunately I haven't had the time to address it properly yet. I'm really sorry not to have come back to you sooner, but I added this lesson to my priorities, and I will adress it as soon as I'm able to. Of course, I will keep you posted when that's done. I really appreciate you taking the time to let us know so we can maintain the highest standard of quality in our content. Je m'excuse encore et merci beaucoup !
Jim asked:View original

We never use "pour" to indicate a duration

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Getting that for you now.