For or During?

Last updated on November 24th, 2023 at 02:22 pm

What is the difference between for and during?

Both for and during are used to talk about time, but they have somewhat different meanings and grammar.


For refers to the how long something goes on.

For combines with a number + minutes/hours/days/weeks/months/years

For example:

  • I studied for two hours before the exam.
  • The meeting lasted for three hours.
  • She lived in Spain for five years.

To emphasise, we can say: For months/for ages/ for years.


During refers to when something happens (not how long) and during combines with a noun.

For example:

  • during the class
  • during the film
  • during the night
  • I watched TV during the power outage.
  • The accident happened during rush hour.
  • She met her husband during college.

We can also say: During the last week (= at one point during the week) / During the next months, etc.

As you can see, for is typically used when we want to specify the duration of something, while during is used when we want to specify a particular point in time.