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During / In

Expressing duration vs. exact time

beach
 

 

How long versus  Exactly when

DURING - EMPHASIS ON ACTIVITY DURATION

During expresses a period or range of time  (also, "over", from X to Y, "throughout").

We are on vacation during July.

We'll sleep during the day and party at night.

The sea was warm during the summer.

I woke up several times during the night.

IN - EMPHASIS ON EXACTLY WHEN

In specifies an exact "calendar" time, which may be as small as a moment or as large as a century.

We are on vacation in July.

We'll sleep in the day and party at night.

The sea was warm in the summer.

I woke up several times in the night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During / In

A range of time

 

 

 

Emphasis on Duration

DURING – BEFORE PHRASES OF DURATION

After a verb that focuses on an activity, "during" is used to indicate a period or range of time for the activity.

We had a great time during our stay there.

We went to the beach several times during our stay.

I met lots of exciting people during that month.

We had some phenomenal experiences during our trip.

The shop is closed during the whole month of July.

IN – BEFORE PHRASES OF DURATION

After a verb that focuses on an activity, in sounds awkward when indicating a period or range of time for the activity.  Instead, use "during".

* We had a great time in our stay there.   (incorrect)

* We went to the beach several times in our stay.   (incorrect)

* I met lots of exciting people in that month.   (incorrect)

* We had some phenomenal experiences in our trip.   (incorrect)

* The shop is closed in the whole month of July.   (incorrect)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During / In

X not Y

 

 

 

DURING - EMPHASIS ON EXACTLY WHEN

*"During" is rarely used to determine exactly when an activity happens.

* We stayed there during July, not during August.   (awkward)

* We went to the beach during the mornings, not during the afternoons.  

* I told him not to go there during the spring.   (awkward)

IN - EMPHASIS ON EXACTLY WHEN

In is commonly used to determine exactly when an activity happens.

We stayed there in July, not in August.

We went to the beach in the mornings, not in the afternoons.

I told him not to go there in the spring. (season)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During / In

Expressing duration with a verb

Work on Bay Bridge in San Francisco

 

 

 

VERB EXPRESSING ACTIVITY

When the verb focuses on an ongoing activity, an adverb expressing duration over a period or range of time can be used (e.g.  "during", "over", from X to Y, "throughout").

ACTIVITY ACTIVITY VERB DURATION RANGE

Work on the bridge

is taking place

during the four-day holiday.

 

is occurring

over the holiday weekend.

 

is scheduled

from Thursday to Tuesday.

 

is happening

throughout the long weekend.

VERB EXPRESSING DURATION

When the verb focuses on the duration of an ongoing activity, an adverb with a specified time is used after it.  (Verbs that focus on duration are present perfect progressive and verbs with a similar meaning to "last".)

ACTIVITY DURATION VERB SPECIFIED TIME FRAME

Work on the bridge

is lasting

all weekend / all four days / all month.

 

is continuing

today / this week / this month.

 

is lasting

longer than expected.

 

is going on

a long time.

 

exact time = midnight, 5:00 a.m., September 10, 2009,  June, 2009, the beginning of the 15th century
specified time = today, this year, this month, this decade, all day, all year, all month, all my life, a long time, a short time, a shorter time than expected, four days, ten years
period or time range =   from Monday to Friday, from noon to midnight, over the weekend, over the semester, throughout the summer, during the winter, during the 12th century

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

 

ERROR SOLUTION

* Work on the Bay Bridge is lasting during the four-day Labor Day holiday.

 

OPTION: Change the verb to focus on the activity not its duration:
Work on the Bay Bridge is taking place during the four-day Labor Day holiday.

OPTION: Change the adverb to indicate the time range or period:
Work on the Bay Bridge is lasting all four days of the Labor Day holiday.
  

* We have been at the movies during the evening.   

Using the present perfect, here, is awkward. 1)  It's unclear whether "we still are at the movies" (ongoing) or "we were at the movies" (completed). 2) Both the verb and the adverb express duration. 

OPTION: Change the verb to focus on the activity not its duration:
We are watching movies during the evening.  We were watching movies during the evening.

OPTION: Change the adverb to to indicate the time range or period:
We have been at the movies this / all evening(change adverb to focus on ongoing duration)

* The Stanford theater has been closed during the month of July.
   (Avoid using both a verb and an adverb or duration.)

OPTION: Change the verb's focus from duration:
The Stanford theater is / was closed during the month of July.

OPTION: Change the adverb to indicate the time range or period:
The Stanford theater has been closed for one month / since June 30.

 

Solution - lightbulb Pop-Q "During

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Touring San Francisco

san francisco

 

 

 

Complete the sentence.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check 1-10" button at the bottom, or click the "Check" button to the left  as you go.

 

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