Grammar-QuizzesAdverbialsPrepositional Phrases › During vs. In

During vs. In

Indicate a period of time

beach
 

Time Phrases—During vs. In

DURING

During indicates a period or range of time (having duration) and is used to say that something happened. "throughout this time" or "sometime within this time".  A clause with during focuses more on what happened—the activity, event or experience.                                                                        

ACTIVITY THROUGHOUT THIS PERIOD

We sat on the beach during the morning hours. 

We talked with friends during the evening. 

We sat on the beach during the day. 

We'll rent a beach house during the first week of July

We go swimming in the sea during July

We travel around the country during the summer

We attended school during the 1990s

Dinosaurs roamed the earth during the Mesozoic Era.

EVENT

The beach is fulll during Easter

We fast during Lent / Ramadan.

We took cover under a table during the earthquake.

EXPERIENCE

We went to the sea often during our childhood.

Ben rarely went to the sea  during his miliary service.

We spent time near the sea during our stay in Greece.

ACTIVITY BEGINS [NOT USED]

 

DURATION—QUANTITY HOW LONG?

*We swam a mile during an hour.

*We swam a mile during the hour.

We swam a mile during the morning hours. (a period of time)

IN

In specifies when an activity occurs/occurred, the timing of the activity—part of day, month, season, year. A clause wit in focuses more on when something happened than what happened. In  may specify how soon or how long something takes/took. (See timelines in the next section.)

THIS PERIOD

We sat on the beach in the morning. 

We talked with friends in the evening.

We sat on the beach in the daytime.

We'll rent a beach house in the first week of July

We swim in July

We travel in the summer

We were school in the 1990s

Dinosaurs existed in the Mesozoic Era.

EVENT [NOT USED]

*The beach is fulll in Easter.  (We go to Church on Easter.)

*We fast in Lent / Ramadan.

*We took cover under a table in the earthquake.

EXPERIENCE  [NOT USED]

We used to drive to the beach in the good ol' days. 

~We went to the sea often in our childhood.

Ben rarely went to the sea  in his miliary service.

We spent time near the sea in our stay in Greece.

ACTIVITY BEGINS—HOW SOON?

We are leaving in a month(in a few minutes, in a second, in a minute, in a while, in time) 

DURATION—QUANTITY HOW LONG?

We swam a mile in an hour. (within an hour's time, 60 minutes)

"It took us a hour to swim a mile."  (It takes X)

 

*not used / ~possibly borderline usage

for – is used with a quantity of time, not a period or range of time.  See For v. Since.

in – see In vs. On vs. At  (time)

Also see Duration vs. Completion (expressing process vs. accomplishment).

(Swan 168) (Huddleston 8 §6.3-8)

 

 

 

 

Timelines for During and In

Communicating beginning, end or duration time

 

 

Timing—During vs. In

DURING

The phrase during [a period of time] can be understood in different ways. The duration may include the whole period or part of the period of time. (e.g., thoughout the period? for part or the period?)

HAS DURATION THROUGHOUT THE PERIOD

We talk during our lunch time.  (throughout the period)
during all of our lunch time

We stay there during July.  (all month)
during all of July

HAS DURATION FOR PART OF THE PERIOD

We talk during our lunch time.  (sometime within the period)
during part of our lunch time

We stay there during July.  (sometime within)
during part of July

 

IN

The phrase in an hour can be understood in different ways. The time period may be the end-most time, the beginning time or  a quantity of time (e.g., within the hour? an hour from now? for an hour?)

HAS AN END TIME  — INEXACT TIMING "ABOUT"

We'll be there in an hour.  (just starting, arriving within the hour)
a point in time

We'll be there in an hour.  (already started, arriving within the hour)
a point in time

HAS A START TIME — BEGINNING TIMING

We'll leave here in an hour.  (not started, leaving an hour from now)
a starting time

HAS DURATION — QUANTITY OF TIME

We'll can get there in an hour.  (it takes one hour to get there.)
has duration

 

 

 

During v. In (duration)

Indicate the period of time for an activity

 

 

During vs. In–before an activity

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. The meaning of the verb expresses a durative action or state.  Using present perfect tense with "during" is awkward.

We had a great time during our stay there.

We went to the beach several times during our vacation.

I met lots of exciting people during that month.

We had some phenomenal experiences during our trip.

The shop is closed during the 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.                                                                                                                                                                                                  

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

→ We had a great time while staying there.

* We went to the beach several times in our vacation.  

→ We went to the beach several timesthroughout our vacation.

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

→ I met lots of exciting people that month. 

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

→ We had some phenomenal experiencesthroughout our trip. 

* The shop is closed in the month of July.  

→ The shop is closed throughout the month of July. 

 

 

 

 

 

During vs. In

Differentiating periods of the day, year, or century

 

 

During vs. In

DURING - EMPHASIS ON EXACTLY WHEN

During is rarely used to differentiate when an activity happened. (It occurred X time not Y time.) However, during can be used to differentiate a range of time, for example, a decade or century written as 1920s or 1900s.

DIFFERENTIATES A RANGE OF TIME WITHIN A DAY OR YEAR

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

* We went there during the morning hours not during the afternoon hours

* We stayed there during July not during August. 

We stayed there during the month of July not during the month of August. 

DIFFERENTIATES A RANGE OF TIME WITHIN A CENTURY OR ERA

Hippies live here during the early 1970s not the1960s.  (period has duration)

Industrialization began during the mid-1700s not the mid-1800s.

Enlightenment took place during the Age of Reason not the Rennaisance.

IN - EMPHASIS ON EXACTLY WHEN

In can be used to differentiate when an activity happened. (It occurred X time not Y time.) Use with periods of the day or a specific month, year, century, or era.

DIFFERENTIATES A PERIOD OF DAY, A MONH, A SEASON OR A YEAR

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

We stayed there in July, not in August.

We swim in the summer not in the spring.

We went there in the last half of the year not in the first half.

DIFFERENTIATES A YEAR, CENTURY OR ERA

The Viet Nam war ended in 1975, not 1974.

The great flood took place in 5,000 BC not 4,000 BC.

Religios persecution took place in the Elizabethan Era not the Victorian Era

 

Clock times:  at 2:00, at noon, at night, at midnight, at the end of the day/week

Periods of the day: in the morning, in the daytime, in the evening, in the wee hours of the morning (early!) 

Calendar dates: on Monday, on March 1, 2020;

Periods of the year: in June, in 2020, in summer, in the summer months, in the 1990s, in the 18th century,

Eras:  in the Victorian Era, in the Pleistocene Epoch.

See In vs. On vs. At  (time)

 

 

 

 

Take place vs. Last

Expressing duration with the verb

Work on Bay Bridge in San Francisco
 

 

VERB EXPRESSING ACTIVITY

When the verb expresses 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 expressese duration, 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

last (V) – remain or continue in a state, exist, continue, endure, keep on, persevere, persist, remain, survive, endure

take place (V) – occur, happen, result, come about

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

Errors and Solutions

ERROR

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

   (Avoid using both a verb and an adverb that express duration.)

 

* The Stanford theater has been closed during the month of July.

   (Avoid using both a verb tense and an adverb that express duration.)

* We have been at the movies during the evening.   

(Present perfect expresses an ongoing activity [so far, up to now]. "This evening" is a period not well defined; part is past and part is future.)

There have been five updates during the last year.

There have been five updates in the last year.

(Present perfect expresses an ongoing activity [so far, up to now]. The phrase "in the last year" is a period not well defined: last calendar year or the last 12 months?)

 

*We have moved five times during this year.

(Present perfect expresses an ongoing activity (so far, up to now). "This year is a period not well defined; part is past and part is future.)

SOLUTION

Work on the Bay Bridge will take place during the four-day holiday.

(Change to a verb that expresses a scheduled activity not duration.)

 

Work on the Bay Bridge will last throughout the four-day holiday.

(Change the adverb so that it expresses a range of time range or period.)

The Stanford theater [is / was / will be] closed during the month of July.

(Change the verb tense to express a scheduled activity not a duration.)

 

The Stanford theater has been closed for one month / since June 30.

(Change the adverb to express a time period with a pres. perfect verb.)

We have been to the movies.   (experience–indefinite past–no adverb)

We have been to the movies several times this year.  (repeated-ongoing)

Wehave been movies this evening. (reporting of recent past activity)

—What were you doing during the evening from 8 to 11 p.m.?

—We were watching a movie during those hours.

There have been five updates this year.  (so far)

There were five updates last year / in 2015. (last calendar year)

There have been five updates in the last twelve months. (up to now)

—How many updates were there from January to May of last year?

—There were five updates during that period.

We have moved five times this year.  (so far, up to now)

We moved five times during the years of 2012 and 2013. (range of time)

We moved five times during the war years. (time period)

We will move five times in the upcoming year. 

We are going to be moving throughout this year.

 

Solution - lightbulb Pop-Q "During

 

Works Cited

 

 

 

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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