Quelques prépositions de temps

French Grammar (see all)

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Quelques prépositions de temps

Pendant expresses the total duration of an action. It literally means ‘during’, but is best translated as ‘for’ here.
Hier il a plu pendant 4 heures. Yesterday it rained for 4 hours
Tous les matins, Victor se coiffe la barbe pendant 10 minutes. Every morning, Victor styles his beard for 10 minutes.

Pour (for) expresses the duration of an event in the future or a scheduled period. We usually use it with partir and aller.
Ils sont partis pour 2 mois au Canada. They left for Canada for 2 months.
Il faut terminer ce travail pour lundi. You need to finish this work for Monday.

En expresses the length of time between the beginning and end of an action.
J’ai lu ce livre en 2 heures ! I read this book in 2 hours!
Il a mangé en 5 minutes. He ate in 5 minutes.

Pro tips:
Pendant and pour can be used in the same sentence, but the meaning is slightly different.
Je pars en vacances pendant 3 semaines. I’m going on holiday for 3 weeks. (= the duration is fixed, I already have my return ticket)
Je pars en vacances pour 3 semaines. I’m going on holiday for 3 weeks (= the duration is scheduled but not fixed, it may change)


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