The English Sessions Podcast Episode: For or During?

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Welcome to episode 38 of The English Sessions. For or During? I am your host and English teacher, Mike Butler. These podcasts can help you improve your English! Together, we will talk about grammar… pronunciation… structure... and have some fun too. Remember to visit my website, www.englishsessionswithmike.com to contact me for private lessons, and for more content.
You can also read the transcript of this audio on the website as you listen to this episode.

Listen for these words today:

Blizzard - a ‘blizzard’ is a severe snowstorm. The northern part of my country, the USA, gets many blizzards in wintertime.


Trick - ‘trick’ has a few definitions. Today, I use ‘trick’ because I am talking about a way to help remember something. It is a technique. A trick is a method, or process. For example, I know the trick to making the perfect pizza. I know the trick. I know a good technique for making pizza. I know a good process. A good method. I know a trick.

Petsitting - ‘Petsitting’ means you are taking care of someone else’s pets temporarily. It’s like babysitting, but for pets instead of humans!

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The words ‘for’ and ‘during’ are prepositions. Sometimes there is confusion around when to use ‘for’ and when to use ‘during’. Today, I will try to clear up some confusion, and I will give examples of both ‘for’ and ‘during’

For more information about the preposition ‘for’, listen to episode 15 of The English Sessions ( https://www.englishsessionswithmike.com/2020/06/tofor-part-1-preposition-for-podcast.html )

Many of my listeners know that I am learning the Spanish language. Therefore, I know that the Spanish word ‘durante’ can translate to ‘for’ and ‘during’. Perhaps this is similar in your language. Do you have one word in your language that translates to both ‘for’ and ‘during’? I have said it before, and I will say it again: …don’t assume that your translation is the best one. Look at many examples… and, always listen to The English Sessions, because we are here to help! If you assume that your translation is correct, then you may begin to use the incorrect preposition in your English sentences, and then years and years will pass as you use the wrong preposition. After years and years of using the wrong preposition, it becomes very hard to change. You become very comfortable with the wrong preposition. It sounds correct to you. It just feels right coming out of your mouth. Let’s try to prevent that from happening.

Let’s start with ‘during’. Use ‘during’ when you are talking about what happens throughout the entire time of a specified period of time, or at some time within a period of time. Prepositions are really hard to explain. So, I’m going to give you some examples to clear up any confusion.

EXAMPLES OF ‘DURING’:

- I lost power during the blizzard. - repeat - At one specific time in the middle of the blizzard, I lost power. I did not have electricity. I lost power.

- The restaurant is open during the day. It is not open at night. It is open during the day. It is open throughout the specified time. The day.

- I played a lot of football during the summer (at different times throughout the summer).

- She called during the week. She called during the week. She called at one point in the week.

Now let’s talk about ‘for’. Use ‘for’ when you are talking about the entire length of time of something. An event; a season; an amount of years.

EXAMPLES OF ‘FOR’:

- I was at university for 4 years.

- We were at the party for 5 hours.

- We went to France for two weeks. We stayed for the entirety of two weeks. That is the total amount of time.

- I lived in San Francisco for 20 years

- My flight was delayed for 3 hours!

- I haven’t seen you for a long time!

Okay, I gave some examples of ‘for’ and ‘during’. Remember, use ‘for’ when talking about the entire time; the entire length of something. It lasted for 3 hours. Use ‘during’ when you are talking about what happens within or throughout an amount of time. What happened during the night? Often, you use ‘during’ when you are giving extra information about what happened within a period of time.

I will give an example. I was petsitting for a friend last week. I was petsitting for 10 days. During those ten days I had some problems. The pets destroyed my house! It was chaos! I had problems with the pets during those ten days. You see? In that last sentence, I referred back to the entire length of time but now I am adding additional information about what happened within the 10 days.

Let’s look at my examples of ‘during’ again. We will also try to replace the word ‘during’ with ‘for’. Does it have the same meaning with ‘for’ instead of ‘during’? Does it have a different meaning? Or is it just confusing? We will decide together.

1. I lost power during the blizzard. I lost power during the blizzard. This is correct. I lost power at one point in the middle of the blizzard. I LOST POWER DURING THE BLIZZARD is CORRECT.  “I lost power for the blizzard”(!?) No no no. This changes the meaning of the sentence. If you say, “I lost power for the blizzard”. It sounds like you lost your power in order to prepare for the blizzard. That does not have the same meaning, and that does not make much sense!

2. The restaurant is open during the day. That’s good. That’s correct. You can go there at any point during the day for food. Now let’s try: “The restaurant is open for the day”. HMMMMMM. No, that doesn’t really have the same meaning. If I heard, “The restaurant is open for the day” I would think, “oh, the restaurant is open today specifically, but perhaps it’s not normally open. Perhaps it’s been closed for some time”. However, both would indicate that the restaurant is open.

3. Remember my sentence: “I played a lot of football during the summer”. Okay, yes. That’s correct. I played a lot of football during the summer; throughout the summer; at different times within the summer. I played a lot of football during the summer. Now let’s try: “I played a lot of football for the summer”. Okay, this is kind of similar. Perhaps you went to a football camp for the summer. For the summer. You went to football camp and it was the entire length of the summer. Example: “John, hi! How are you? I went to France for the summer. What did you do?” “Oh hi, Mike. Nice to see you. I went to football camp for the summer. So, ultimately, I played a lot of football for the summer. That was my summer”. Okay okay, so this is more or less pretty similar in meaning.

4. She called during the week. She called at one point in the week. She called during the week. THIS IS CORRECT. Now, LET’S TRY: “She called for the week”. (buzzer noise) Hmmm. I don’t really know what this could mean. This is just confusing to me. Perhaps YOU can think of a good time to say “she called for the week”. A proper context. If you can, then write in to the podcast or leave a message on the website. I’d love to hear from you!

After the break, we will do the same exercise with my examples for ‘for’. I will also give you a little trick for remembering the rules. Don’t go away.

— Break —

Welcome back. Before the break we replaced the word ‘during’ with the word ‘for’. Sometimes the sentence had a similar meaning. Sometimes the sentence had a completely different meaning! One sentence was just confusing when we replaced ‘during’ with ‘for’. Let’s do the same exercise, but this time I will replace ‘for’ with ‘during’.

1. I was at university for 4 years. The entirety of four years. I was at university for four years. LET’S TRY: “I was at university during 4 years”. Okay, let’s pause. - record scratch sound - Now this is something that my students might say. It’s not the end of the world if you say this. It just sounds wrong though. It is not the most accurate preposition to use. Most likely, however, your listener will understand you. For this example, the use of ‘during’ doesn’t really change the meaning of the sentence. It’s just not what a native English speaker would say.

2. We went to France for two weeks. We stayed for the entirety of two weeks. That is the total amount of time. We went to France for two weeks. This is the same as number 1. We went to France during two weeks. It just sounds strange. But it’s okay if you make this mistake. Don’t panic. Most likely your listener will understand.

3. I lived in San Francisco for 20 years. The same as #1 and #2. Use the preposition ‘for’, but if you use ‘during’… well… you will probably be understood. However, if you are trying to improve your English / if you are trying to perfect your English, then try to start using the correct preposition. Break those bad habits! If your goal is just to be understood, then just remember that your listener will probably still understand you if you use the wrong preposition here. But remember, using an uncommon preposition can DEFINITELY change the meaning of a sentence. I tell this to my students all the time. This is important to remember so I will say it again. Using an uncommon preposition can change the meaning of your sentence.

4. My flight was delayed for 3 hours. That is the entire length of the delay. It is the total amount of time. My flight was delayed for 3 hours. LET’S TRY: “My flight was delayed during three hours”. Hmmmm. I feel confused just saying it out loud. I feel like this can potentially have a different meaning. It’s just confusing to me! Perhaps there was a delay within the three hours that was only part of the three hours (?!). I don’t know. My flight was delayed during three hours… You know, if someone said that to me I think I would be confused. I really do. Try to avoid that one. But, again, if you can think of a proper time to say this, let me know! Write into the podcast.

5. I haven’t seen you for a long time. That sounds good! That is correct! I haven’t seen you for a long time. BUT, “I haven’t seen you during a long time”. Oh no. This is similar to #4. I’m just confused. During a long time? At one specific point within a long time? Hmmmm. I’m a bit confused. I would avoid saying this.

So, what have we learned? Knowing the difference between ‘for’ and ‘during’ is important. Also, sometimes a translation of a preposition is not accurate. Also, yes, knowing the difference is important, however, SOME sentences have more or less the same meaning, but NOT ALWAYS!

So, remember, use ‘for’ when talking about the entire length of time. I have been talking for some time now. Use ‘during’ when talking about what is happening throughout the course or duration of (a period of time), or at a specific point within a period of time. The cat woke me up during the night. I always get too hot during the summer months.

Any questions? Write in to the podcast. efteachermike@gmail.com

Now I will share a trick to help remember when to use ‘for’ and when to use ‘during’. I learned this trick from grammarbank.com . Thank you, grammarbank. You will often see ‘for’ before the words 'a' or 'an' or a NUMBER followed by a time noun. I went on vacation for ‘a’ week. I slept for ‘an’ hour. We stayed home for ten days.

… and what about ‘during’. The trick here is: ‘you will often see ‘during’ before a noun. What happened during the game? During my vacation I got lost many times. I panicked during the storm.

Any questions? Write in to the podcast, efteachermike@gmail.com . Find us on social media. Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. https://www.facebook.com/theenglishsessions/ | twitter.com/theesessions | https://www.instagram.com/englishsessionswithmike/ . Go to our website for much much more content. www.englishsessionswithmike.com. You can help support The English Sessions. Go to https://anchor.fm/theenglishsessions to make a monthly contribution. You can help support The English Sessions for as low as $0.99 USD per month! Please rate and review The English Sessions on Apple Podcasts, or whatever podcast player you use. It really helps us a lot!

Go to the website, www.englishsessionswithmike.com for a FREE consultation with me, Mike. Do you want to talk to me about your English? I offer a free 30-minute consultation. That’s right, 30 minutes FREE with me, Mike. After that, I will be available to you for private lessons at a price that is affordable for you. We can discuss what you can afford together. I am here to help.

One more thing, for all of the advanced learners out there, make sure to subscribe or follow Get the Word! with Mike Butler. Yes, Get the Word! is now its own podcast. You must search for Get the Word! separately now. There are episodes of Get the Word! on the new podcast that are not on The English Sessions. The Anchor page is anchor.fm/get-the-word

Thank you all for listening. Until next time, this is Mike signing off.

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Attribution:  
 
https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/grammar/british-grammar/during-or-for

https://www.grammarbank.com/for-vs-during.html

https://www.spanishdict.com/translate/durante ( Mi compañía me ha dado una prima anual durante 10 años = My company has given me an annual bonus for 10 years. )

https://www.fesliyanstudios.com/royalty-free-sound-effects-download/restaurants-179

https://freesound.org/people/craigsmith/sounds/479969/#

https://soundbible.com/1518-Phone-Ringing.html

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/29/Brooklyn_blizzard_1888.jpg

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