Advanced English Grammar



Prepositions of Time Duration


The prepositions of time duration are essential concerning understanding of when events occur. Is it in the past? Will it last until a specified time? How long does it last? And so on...

The list of definitions with samples below should help you get a better understanding of these tricky items. I recommend looking them over and then doing the exercise that follows. You can check your answers below.

ABOUT = approximate duration

The trip will last about ten days.

AS FROM / AS OF = unknown duration from a given time

The new tax law will be in force as from 31 January.
As of today, I'm on a diet.

BETWEEN = from one specific time to another

I often go for a coffee between my morning and afternoon classes.

DURATION = A. period, or length, of time B. event within a certain period

The weather was horrible during our holiday; it rained everyday.
He twisted his ankle during the game and walks with crutches now.

FOR = duration, or a given length of time

He taught English for 25 years before he retired.

FROM... TILL = duration between two given points

From the time he wakes up till the time he goes to bed he's on the move.

IN = specified duration

Wait a minute, will you? I’ll be back in just a few minutes.

SINCE = duration from a given time until the present

That bakery has been in business since 1947.

THROUGHOUT = from the beginning to the end

Throughout his life, Gandhi advocated peaceful resistance.

TILL = duration to a given point

She lived her till 1985, then she moved to Chicago.

UNTIL = same as till

Until the day he died, the prisoner insisted he was innocent.

UP TO = same as till

Up to now, I've visited four shoe stores looking for new shoes.

WITHIN = specified duration

The train will arrive within the next few minutes.

Prepositions of Time Duration exercise


1. The American Revolution started ___ the reign of King George III.
2. I will be at the school ___ two o'clock ___ five this afternoon.
3. I will be at the school ___ two o'clock and five this afternoon.
4. I will be at the school ___ three hours this afternoon.
5. I will be at the school ___ the hour.
6. I will be at the school ___ the afternoon.
7. ___ right now, I will no longer smoke.
8. I will be at the school ___ Saturday, then I'm leaving.
9. ___ his accident, He has lost his voice.
10. He repeatedly missed classes ___ the semester.

 Your score is  

For more information about prepositions of time duration click on the preceding link.