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How to Ask Questions: HOW LONG, HOW MUCH...


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Hi there. My name is Emma,

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and in today's video I am going to teach you a very, very important grammar point.

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I'm going to teach you about a mistake many, many students make.

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So I don't want you to make this mistake, so let's get started. In this video I am going

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to teach you the difference between

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"How long", "How long time", "How much time" and "How many times".

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Students often confuse these four expressions. So let's look at some of the differences.

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So I have here a question. I actually have three different sentences, here. One of them

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is right, two of them are wrong. Okay? So let's look at these together. The first one:

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"How long time have you been here?"

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The second one: "How long have you been here?"

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And the third one: "How many time have you been here?"

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So one of these is correct. Which one do you think is right?

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If you said: "How long time have you been here?" that's incorrect. This

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one, it's wrong. Number two: "How long have you been here?" If you said this one, you

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are correct. This is right. What about the last one? "How many time have you been here?"

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This one is also wrong, but we can make it right if we add an "s". So let's go over each

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of these so you can find out why some of these are wrong, and why some of them are right.

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To get started, let's look at "How long". So when we ask somebody: "How long...?" we

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are asking them about time. Okay? We want to know the amount of time for something.

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So, for example: "How long have you been here?" I want to know, maybe, how many minutes. Or

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maybe I want to know how many hours you've been here. Okay? If I ask you:

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"How long have you lived in England?"

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an answer would be a number that has to do with time. You might

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say: "Five years.", "Four weeks.", "Two months." Okay? So when we ask: "How long...?" the answer

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and what we want to know is about time; minutes, hours, days, months, weeks, years. Okay?

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So let's look at another example. "How long have you lived in Spain?" The answer is going

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to be something about time. "Three years." Okay? You'll notice not always, but many times

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we use: "How long" with the present perfect. It's possible to use it with the past tense,

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the simple past, and also the future, but you will often see it with the present perfect.

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"How long have you been married?", "How long have you worked here?",

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"How long have you studied English?"

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Okay? So a lot of the questions you probably want to ask somebody, you're

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probably going to use: "How long have you...?" Okay? Very common way we ask questions.

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So, what about: "How long time"? Can I say that also? Can I say:

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"How long time have you lived in Spain?"

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or: "How long time did you sleep on the plane?"

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No. If you're asking

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how long, you don't need the word "time". Okay? We never say in English: "How long time".

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Many students say: "How long time", but this is not correct. The correct expression: "How long".

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Not: "How long time". All right, so now let's look at "How much time" and "How many times".

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Okay, so we've talked about "How long", which is good, "How long time", which is bad. Now

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let's look at: "How much time...?" I think this is why many students get confused. I

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think they confuse: "How long" and "How much time", and they... As a result, they create:

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"How long time", which is incorrect.

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So: "How much time" actually is pretty much the same as "How long".

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When you ask: "How much time...?" you want to know about the amount of time.

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You want to know about maybe

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it's minutes, days, weeks, months, years. It's the same as "How long". Okay? So, for

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example: "How much time does it take to get to work?"

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I could also say: "How long does it take to get to work?"

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They have the same meaning. Or: "How much time have you waited?",

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"How much time have you been in line for?" Okay? So, the answers to these questions are

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going to be about time. -"How much time does it take to get to work?"

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"For me, it takes one hour."

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"How much time have you waited in line?" -"I've waited in line five minutes."

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Okay? So, for both "How long" and "How much time", they're pretty much the same. In conversation,

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we usually use "How long". Okay? You can use both, but native speakers are more likely

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to use "How long". So if you're trying to decide: Do I use "How much time" or "How long"?

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"How long" is more natural and it's more common. Okay? But they mean the same thing.

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Now, here's another area many students get confused. "How many times...?" "How many times"

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is not the same as "How much time". The words "how" and "time" are the same, but these have

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different meanings. First, before I tell you what this means, I want you to notice the

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word "time" and "time" here. With "How much time" is there an "s"? No, there is no "s".

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But for "How many times" there always is an "s". We don't say: "How many time", we say:

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"How many times" with an "s". So this has a different meaning than this.

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This is different because when you ask someone: "How many times", you want to know the number

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of events. Not the time, the number of events. So you're counting; one, two, three, four, five. Okay?

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So, for example, you might say: "How many times did you watch the movie Titanic?"

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Some people watched the movie once, some people watched the movie twice, some people watched

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the movie 100 times, maybe even 500 times. Okay?

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So: "How many times did you watch the movie Titanic?",

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"How many times did you eat today?" Maybe if you had breakfast, lunch,

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and dinner, you ate three times. -"How many times have you been to the museum?"

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-"I've been to the museum five times." Okay? So this, for "How many times", you're counting. And

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your answer, it could be once, twice. After twice, we often say: "Three times", with an

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"s" also, "Four times". Okay? We can also say: "One time", "Two times", that's possible, too.

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So here's one more example: "How many times will you watch this video?"

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Will you watch it one time, two times, three times, 100 times? I hope not, but I hope you watch this video.

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And if you need to watch it multiple times, it can help you really with your understanding.

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Okay, so just to go over what you learned in this video: We talked about "How long"

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meaning we're talking about time; minutes, hours, days. We talked about "How much time"

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which has the same meaning, but is less common. We talked about "How many times", which is

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not the same, and which means you're counting. Okay? And we also talked about "How long time",

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which is never, never correct in English. We never say: "How long time". Okay? So, it's

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very good to practice these ideas and these concepts,

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so I invite you to come visit our website at www.engvid.com.

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There, you can do a quiz where you can practice these to

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make sure you really understand the differences between these expressions.

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Until next time, take care.

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